Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On image manipulation

True to the age of 'gimme my results NOW!', the current trend towards digital manipulations of photos is a good case in point. Free image manipulation software now seem to bring out results that sometimes rival uber image manipulation software like Photoshop in the matter of touching up and sharpening digital photographs. A photo of a bunch of bananas lying around on our kitchen counter top that was then digitally manipulated using something as low tech as PAINT.NET are shown below as an example…

Of course, there is a certain school which believes that the instant you touch your photographic images with any software tools, you pollute the concept and the resulting image is not worth its salt. This may be true for images produced in scientific journals, but does not seem to hold true for a lot of amateur photographers (and some professional – especially folks who cover the news) who have clearly started to use these tools. Tell-tale signs are visible to a practiced eye and even if I do not claim too much practice myself, I did notice a couple of photography shows down in Chelsea where the images were clearly manipulated to suit the subject or the theme. Personally, I do not think there is anything sinful about manipulating an image. It is just that the chemical laced manipulations laboriously done inside that makeshift and cramped darkroom can now be done fairly easily in front of a computer. Of course, historically, 'more effort' is sometimes perceived as being 'more original' and the darkroom based morphs of yore were definitely heavy lifting.

Sunil, 'Bananas', Digital photograph

4 comments:

JafaBrit's Art said...

oh pass the smelling salts! honestly these purists are so tiresome. Yes anybody can use a computer program to manipulate an image, but it takes vision to do something with it.

Anonymous said...

Bananas imitating fecal matter?

Sunil said...

Corrine,
Yep, that's what I was thinking...

Sunil said...

Anonymous,
Wow, you must have some pretty warped 'fecal matter' ideas to come up with that...
Well, to each his own, but makes me wonder - how many orifices do you shoot through to make that deduction? Mutations resulting in multi cylindered sphincters would be my guess...