The fact that I don't use many (or any) of what I would define as 'special effects' does not mean I don't support their use. On the other hand, as Chris suggests above, some might consider what I do to be the use of special effects (it's all a matter of definition).
The crucial factor, as far as I am concerned, is honesty. Whatever someone does, the fact that it is honestly represented is what's important. If a special effect is employed to trick and delude or create a falsehood, then its use becomes illegitimate, in my book. But if I present an image to you and tell you (or at least don't mislead you) it's totally wacky and I've employed every trick/tool/effect in the book to create something that is my artistic impression of the subject ... then fine.
Donald hit the nail squarely on the head, imo.
I’ve watched a group of eight artists all paint a landscape that had a church and a yew tree as the prominent features. Walking around the back of them I soon realised that every single one of them had seen something different. Not only that, they all used different mediums and different tools for applying them. No one was accused of cheating because they dared to be different from their neighbour. I still recognised the church and the yew tree and really liked everyone’s interpretation of the scene. No one lost money, belongings or even died during the exercise and I learnt about opening my eyes. I do not see the difference between that group of artists and software that will help you achieve your desired final image. Using ‘Special effects’ software to deliberately mis-sell is another thing altogether.
I'm not sure I agree -- this is a great picture, and if it were hanging in a gallery, would Chris have to put on a label, this was done with special effects? I have no idea how he did this, but in the end, what does it matter to the image and the quality of the image?
I've been thinking about this with respect to wildlife shots -- evidently, you're supposed to disclose whether the shot you took of a lion was at Safari West here in Santa Rosa ("The spirit of Africa in the heart of the Wine Country") so no one is fooled into thinking that you went on an actual photo safari in Kenya and spent a lot of money and put yourself in some kind of danger in the process. My question is, what does it matter to the image? I have a very nice close-up shot of a red-tailed hawk, and if someone asks me, I'll gladly tell them that it was in essence a studio shoot, but what does that matter to the image? Am I just cranky this morning?
To expand and elucidate (which is brave [aka stupid] thing to try on a Friday afternoon).
I didn't intend to imply that an artist should have to declare, verbally or in writing, what their intentions were and nor they went about delivering their goal. If I view the work, then it's for me to make of it what I will. I can accept it : I can reject it. I can like it : I can dislike it. Or something in between!
But if the artist wishes to make some statement about the creation of the image, or responds to a request to do so, then he/she has a duty to be honest and not to sell it off as something it is not.
That, I don't think, interferes with the artistic and creative right or process.
Sorry, I didn't mean to get too cerebral about it all.
The final image is the important thing for me, the art of intepretation of a subject. If you use special effects to achieve that image then all well and good. The final judgement I think is wether the image uses the special effect as an integral part of the final result or wether it's just the special effect on display for its own sake or to cover up a less than great image.
Apart from which the term 'special effect' covers a wide range of evils so I'd kind of like to endorse them because odds on I may have used one or two (inadvertantly of course)
I don't know who is qualified to determine what is or isn't correct. I do know that the prints Ansel Adams produced were nothing like the image he saw with his eyes at the time.
Photojournalism could do without manipulation.
But maybe Kipling had it right?
The Conundrum of the Workshops
When the flush of a new-born sun fell first on Eden's green and gold,
Our father Adam sat under the Tree and scratched with a stick in the mould;
And the first rude sketch that the world had seen was joy to his mighty heart,
Till the Devil whispered behind the leaves, "It's pretty, but is it Art ?"
Wherefore he called to his wife, and fled to fashion his work anew -
The first of his race who cared a fig for the first, most dread review;
And he left his lore to the use of his sons -- and that was a glorious gain
When the Devil chuckled "Is it Art ?" in the ear of the branded Cain.
They fought and they talked in the North and the South, they talked and
they fought in the West,
Till the waters rose on the pitiful land, and the poor Red Clay had rest -
Had rest till that dank blank-canvas dawn when the dove was preened to start,
And the Devil bubbled below the keel: "It's human, but is it Art ?"
They builded a tower to shiver the sky and wrench the stars apart,
Till the Devil grunted behind the bricks: "It's striking, but is it Art ?"
The stone was dropped at the quarry-side and the idle derrick swung,
While each man talked of the aims of Art, and each in an alien tongue.
The tale is as old as the Eden Tree - and new as the new-cut tooth -
For each man knows ere his lip-thatch grows he is master of Art and Truth;
And each man hears as the twilight nears, to the beat of his dying heart,
The Devil drum on the darkened pane: "You did it, but was it Art ?"
We have learned to whittle the Eden Tree to the shape of a surplice-peg,
We have learned to bottle our parents twain in the yolk of an addled egg,
We know that the tail must wag the dog, for the horse is drawn by the cart;
But the Devil whoops, as he whooped of old: "It's clever, but is it Art ?"
When the flicker of London sun falls faint on the Club-room's green and gold,
The sons of Adam sit them down and scratch with their pens in the mould -
They scratch with their pens in the mould of their graves, and the ink and the anguish start,
For the Devil mutters behind the leaves: "It's pretty, but is it Art ?"
Now, if we could win to the Eden Tree where the Four Great Rivers flow,
And the Wreath of Eve is red on the turf as she left it long ago,
And if we could come when the sentry slept and softly scurry through,
By the favour of God we might know as much - as our father Adam knew!
I'd agree with you for the most part, so long as we explain to everyone that what Adams saw behind his eye (his vision of the final image) was well formed before he pressed the shutter and that is what was produced in the final print. So, he definitely 'saw' the picture at the time.
To me, the above tells me that the camera is seen as a tool for collecting evidence and not an instrument for art.you're supposed to disclose whether the shot you took of a lion was at Safari West here in Santa Rosa ("The spirit of Africa in the heart of the Wine Country") so no one is fooled into thinking that you went on an actual photo
Last edited by 3Wheels; 1st April 2011 at 11:23 PM.
Sorry, I didn't mean to stir up controversy! I just know a few wildlife photographers who are pretty rabid about the issue of disclosure.
I think that unlike other visual art forms (except film), photography as art is all mixed up with photography as journalism/documentation. Nobody expects a painting or a sculpture to be a realistic representation, but there seem to be all these "ethical" issues (I don't' think they really are) around photography.
You just tossed a little petrol on the smoldering embers of my original query. I think my concern, and really more (selfishly) for my own edification as I like using Pixel bender to add just a touch of "oily" softness to some of my images. While I am working with an original image, it is not a straight out of the camera, edit and for that one concern, I asked the question.
I don't always disclose my methodology, but if asked, I always have. I'm sort of cruising along the art highway and experimenting with all kinds of media options. And, I think in all this mixing there will always be some folks with their pantaloons in a wad, while others will give it a shrug and either appreciate it for what it is, or discount it as tomfoolery....and, I've just gotten started...