exercise 19: Correction

For this I have prepared a black and white image that is  not quite
finished. I have completed everything else except the removal of the sensor dust.

I I realise now that the dust correction is best done before adding grain to an image, I had to return to the image in Photoshop and use the history tool to go back to be sure I was looking at dust.  The particle is on the top right hand corner of this crop from the image.  I went back and used the spot healing brush to remove them.  Sometimes I find it can be difficult to decide what is dust and what is from the actual scene, generally dust looks different though, the edges are softer.  I have a photograph that I took in Iceland where, after processing into black and white, there are a lot of small white specs on the right hand edge.  At first I could not decide what they were.  However when I checked the photographs taken around the same time they were not present.  It transpired they were birds in the far off distance.  Dust is usually dark, also it only really shows up when you use a small aperture, in this case f 16.  I have no ethical issues doing this kind of correction, even with the clone stamp.

Here is an example of flaring that I took deliberately.  At the time I was interested to see how it could be used as a leading line.

I used content aware fill to remove the flare in the second example and I think its pretty convincing.  One thing I find when I am doing this kind of alteration is that I find it hard not to see the blemishes in the repair but in this case I think its pretty convincing.  Now the question of whether its ethical or not, I am not certain.  I have carried out corrections on smaller areas than this and don’t see any problem with it.  But on an area this size is out-and-out digital manipulation I guess.

Perhaps the photographers intention is the most important factor.  Otherwise it could be said that repairing an old damaged photograph in Photoshop would be unethical, for instance when someone discovers a family photograph or a negative and has it repaired.

The other factor here is the amount of effort for very little gain.  I mean I think that a little trouble taken at the time of capture to ensure you get a clean photo is a lot more efficient use of your time as a photographer.

Nowadays people tend to think that photo manipulation on this kind of scale is a new phenomena.  Last summer, I was at the Rencontres Arles and I saw an exhibition by a Chinese artist called Zhang Dali, I think it was called second history where he showed the photographic manipulation carried out by the communist party during the time of Mao. Basically they did everything we do today with a graphics tablet and more using a scissors and glue.

“In this body of work, Beijing-based photographer, Zhang Dali, uses pairings of doctored archival photographs, that were published in various magazines, newspapers, posters, etc. during the Mao era, with un-doctored newly printed images made from the original negatives, discovered by the artists, showing how photography was used to improve the official public image.” from artnet.com


About briancooney123

HOW I GOT HERE Of course, I wasn’t always a full time photographer. I spent a lot of time in the corporate world. I had a job which paid well, but just didn’t excite me. I remember the day when I had had enough. Enough of selling myself short, enough of dreaming too small, enough of doing what others expected of me. I had put away my dreams and told myself I would get back to them later, but somehow there always seemed to be something else that had to get done first. A friend of mine had recommended I take the NLP Business Practitioners course, and although I was really busy, I decided to do it. During that time, I began to imagine the different paths my life could take from here. While I had a hazy picture of what this other life might look like, I had a clear picture of where my current life was going if I didn’t change. It was a scary moment, a bit like standing on the edge of a cliff deciding whether to jump into the great unknown or stay on the cliff, safe but trapped. I jumped. The transition to the life I wanted was challenging The transition to the life I wanted was challenging but I would never go back. After that day I resolved to do what I love, to follow my bliss.  Picking up a camera after several years away, I found that many things had changed, the digital age had arrived. In the intervening years, I was too busy to pay any attention to my photography, and occasionally when I took something I really liked, I would think “how do some photographs seem so captivating and others leave me completely cold?” I knew this is what I was meant to do Somehow though, I knew this is what I was meant to do. I dedicated myself to learning everything I could about being a photographer. I took many, many courses and I read every book I could get my hands on, I still do. Since then, I have dedicated myself to helping other creative photographers achieve the results they want. And what a journey it has been. Last year I qualified as a coach. My main area of interest is creativity and helping others to express their vision. WHAT I BELIEVE Along the way, I’ve learnt that there are no rules. Experiment, explore, play. My advice is to make your art from your heart, not for the praise or the money.  Lighten up. It’s important to take your photography seriously, but it's a mistake to take yourself too seriously. Finally, you get what you want when you never, ever give up so enjoy every minute of it and just do it!
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