Iphoneography: When is a photograph no longer a photograph?

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I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday and showing him some of my iPhone images. Our discussion turned to whether or not images that are manipulated are still photographs and at what point they stop being photographs and become works of art. Or is there any difference as a photograph is essentially a work of art.

Here are some examples of original images and the resulting “photograph” after some manipulation with iPhone apps.

This a straight out  of the iPhone shot of the water at Kilcona and the image after some manipulation. I think you will agree that the resulting image is still a photograph.

This is the original of the sunset at Kilcona, followed by 2 images that have been manipulated. Is the final images still a photograph or does it become a work of art that is something other than a photograph?

And finally, my most extreme example of changing the original image. The first image was taken with an app called Slow Shutter and is an image of some clouds and trees. I then used Tiny Planet in Photoforge2 to make the circle, followed by making  some adjusting of the colour etc to create the image you see.   Is it still a photograph?

These are 3 examples of various amounts of manipulation. The first is true to the original image with some changes in brightness, contrast and colour. The second shows increasingly more alternations and the final image is not like the original at all.

At what point does an image stop being a photograph? Or is it always a photograph if the original was taken with a camera?

I’m not sure of the answer and wonder what you think. I’m leaning towards the last one no longer being a photograph but being a work of art. But then what is the media? It is still from an original photograph.

Let me know what your  thoughts are on this.

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The Magic of Photoshop (Winnipeg Photographers)

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Sometimes I see an article that I think it worth reposting. This is one of them. Photographs are not always as they appear! Have a look at the magic of Photoshop!

Before and after: Britney Spears releases unretouched Candie’s ads

By Joanna Douglas, Senior Fashion and Beauty Editor | Fashion – Wed, Apr 14, 2010 5:34 PM EDT


Candie’sPhotoshop is a popular topic of discussion here in Fashion + Beauty, and I know that some readers grow tired of hearing about it. We should just assume that all ads and fashion spreads are altered to some degree, right? Well, I don’t want to accept it. I hate airbrushed photos. But you know what I love? When celebrities and models ask for their images not to be altered, or post before and after photos to show how their images have been distorted.
There’s no question that women of all ages feel pressure based on the apparent “perfection” of celebs and fashion models in advertisements. It’s been well documented that such photos can actually lower someone’s self esteem and self image. As a female celebrity, Britney Spears has felt that pressure too, and struggled a little bit over the years with maintaining the body she became known for in her teens. As many of us know, a decade and having two kids can change a woman’s body. Despite that, we think Spears looks amazing these days. She does too, and she actually didn’t want her ads to be retouched! So in order to emphasize the pressure on women to obtain unreasonable perfection, she has allowed for the original untouched images from her Candie’s ads to be released alongside the airbrushed and retouched ones that were used as promos for the company. Britney, you are very brave and really awesome for doing this.


Let’s take a look at the before and after photos. In the top picture, they have definitely whittled down Britney’s waist and legs a lot. Healthy Living editor Jessica Ashley pointed out that Spears is known for her athletic dancers body, and those thigh and calf she works so hard to obtain have completely disappeared in the after photos. Lame! Her retouched legs look very slender and long, but they also don’t even look like real skin–they’re Barbie legs! Bruises, discoloration, and natural shadows have all been removed. Her arms look a little less fleshy as well.

The bottom photos give Spears a complete rear makeover. Once again, her thigh and calf muscles are totally gone, her arms appear smaller, and her waist is made unrealistically tiny. Also, what cellulite? It’s magically missing in the after photo. But worst of all, they gave her a butt lift! Her tush is made smaller, perkier and actually appears higher, so they’ve added some length in her thigh to make up for it. For good measure, her jaw bone has been sculpted, and her hair has been made shinier and more golden. Let us know if there are other alterations we missed.

Wow, it’s amazing how much work goes into retouching photos, isn’t it? We wouldn’t be surprised if one day airbrushing skills become more valuable than actual photographers–they can alter anything!

What do you think of Britney’s decision to release the original untouched photos. Do you enjoy seeking them? Are you surprised or upset when you see these types of serious alterations being made? [Daily Mail]

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