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Friday, 01 July 2016


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What? That National Geographic pyramids cover was 34 years ago?

I feel old.

A propos of "he who shall not be named", this is interesting reading:


According to a UK advertiser of the Huawei P9:
"Every photo you shoot will look pin sharp thanks to the dual Leica lenses
Advanced camera features will make even quick photos look professional".
I can hardly wait to get one.

"Note that this would have been completely permissible for many uses, for instance a travel agency poster or an advertisement."

Yes right, selling trips to places that don't exist is perfectly OK from an ethical point of view. Slowly I understand why I like so much Martin Parr.

Interesting with NGS, that their cover format dictated the image, and probably caused the art director to push the boundaries on what is allowable; the 'branding' of the cover being that strong. If you had a magazine that was all about images only, I think you'd have to consider having a 'brand' image 'look' that was more open to photos of various aspect ratios.

I actually believe in image fidelity for journalistic applications, but when the NGS fracas was going on; I'm not sure if I ever thought their magazine was rigidly journalistic anyway, lots of fluff in there as well; but I can see the need for sticking by a standard for the whole publication so that people don't have to decide what is real and what is fluff!

Ditto for the latest dust-up. I guess with the tenor of most of his books of late, I never really expected journalistic fidelity.

"It set me to wondering if that's the first time I've encountered the all-purpose sales word "pro" (roughly, a synonym for "good" in our field) associated with a cellphone."

Some of us have touted the iOS app "645 PRO" in these comments before. It's still my favorite camera app, for its BW film simulations (coincidentally) and for putting photographic controls on screen. Depending on your point of view and the circumstance, it makes taking a picture with an iphone either simpler or more complicated.

As any fan of the Oakland Raiders can tell you, just because you're a "pro," it doesn't mean you're any good at your job.

The concept of "never alter our photos" is a strange one, and ultimately impossible. Are they saying that they don't color correct for publication? They never crop? No black and white images are allowed? No noise reduction in color photographs? No sharpening? Never clone out a dust spot?

I think it is time to retire the impossible concept of "not altered" and use terms that more accurately reflect the ambiguous contextual borders between what is and isn't done. I takes more words to say something like "addition or removal of significant picture elements or significant alterations to other other aspects of the image are not allowed."

I read the article "How We Spot Altered Pictures" but nowhere in the article do they say how they spot altered pictures.

Where's a Technical Editor when you need one?

A crop may be slightly misleading, but it is not altering a picture, just as taking a telephoto shot is not changing the real world, compared to taking the same view with a wide-angle. Likewise, color correcting in itself suggests that you are making the color more like the original scene and not changing it. A dust spot was not in the original scene, nor was noise etc etc. NGS does not have black and white photography either. People tend to make this whole business way too complicated. There are not nearly as many shades of gray as people suggest. I am surprised how many photogs seem to find this whole business of "truth" so difficult.

Holy cats, that Robert Dannin post at A.D. Coleman's site (mentioned above in Paulo Bizarro's post) is both an eye-opener and (it seems to me) lawsuit bait. I'm not saying it's goofy, but if somebody else were to say it's goofy, I wouldn't spend a lot of time arguing with them.

On Bruno's comment:
I think it would be fine to use the photo on a travel brochure. The pyramids are there; they were moved to fit the frame. You won't see that exact frame with your eyes, but I don't think the average tourist will really care. What you will notice is "Holy crap... the city is right there!"

"Note that this would have been completely permissible for many uses, for instance a travel agency poster or an advertisement."

Absolutely. You oughta see some of the "photos" of new apartment buildings or resorts or vacation spots in Japan. A beautiful apartment with lovely park-like grounds that when seen in reality is surrounded by buildings, telephone poles and lines, and has but a few scraggly trees. Years ago, there was a photo (travel agency?) of a beautiful view that turned out to have had a nearby nuclear plant removed. I believe this had been back before digital too. I never trust any of those types of photos.

The A.D. Coleman site linked to in Paulo Bizarros' post is quite interesting. Not the Steve McCurry article,but those on the Robert Capa D-Day "myth."

The Hauwei P9 by all accounts is a very good smartphone camera. Have seen some work done with it by, umm, a pro. Usual small sensor everything in focus, which I personally am not a big fan of, but very good tonal separation and dynamic range. Those pesky cell phone cameras keep getting better and better.

I think the relevant part of the article is that NGM requires the RAW images to be submitted. Now, I really do not get all the hate for Steve McCurry, but the image that was manipulated was not a submission to NG therefore it would not have appeared in it. And his Afgan Girl image was shot on Kodachrome.

National Geographic is a magazine that features some beautiful photos and interesting stories, and that's all.

Those child-monks praying near the lake, they were hired from the head monk for $20. The lake is about 20 minutes across town from their momentary [monastery? —Ed.] by taxi, the one they normally pray at has too many plastic bottles for a nat-geo pic. And that golden hour light reflecting off their brown skin; a gold reflector held by the photog's assistant. What about the rarely seen lion on the savanna in the middle of the day? He doesn't know he's only supposed to be awake at night because he lives on a ranch in Texas.

It's all quite okay. The pictures are beautiful. The stories are interesting.

[I assume you're being satiric rather than making specific charges about situations you have knowledge about? —Ed.]

There has been a lot of tweaking going on in the photo-graphic business for decades. Before Photoshop was around, 4-color separators did the tweaking for slides and negatives in preparation for print, and sometimes I would be in awe over what it could do. I find the attention tweaking photographic work has been getting lately a bit ironic. Is it because amateurs with digital cameras and Photoshop can learn to do it? Why be so surprised? Technology has advanced in this area and now amateurs have access to the tools. What do you think the advertising business is all about? It has always been about selling stuff and selling stuff is always about the presentation.

@DavidB: That is actually typical NG. I've seen my share of their TV documentaries that tell you everything about how hard it was to get to this or that place but nothing on the actual topic, be it meteorite craters, sequoias or cats. Lots of eye candy and no substance.

On the cover photo: Curiously enough, I find that manipulation quite inoffensive. I'm under the impression that you could get an almost identical image from a different perspective. The message of the image changes much more strongly with the crop. I wonder if they ever considered using landscape layout.

If you want to check pyramid locations today you just look up Google maps! LOL.

Cheers, Geoff

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