When is a photograph not a photograph? Well over the years there have been stories that some famous images were fake. People thought that with the arrival of digital images that there would be a lot more correction going on. But where is the line between correction and fake drawn?
In doing some research for this exercise, I looked at one of the most famous incidents involving a fake image,that of the Cottingley Fairies. Images taken by two girls in 1917, long before digital images arrived!
It was not until 1983 that the girls admitted that the most images were fakes. We are now nearly 100 years further forward and the DSLR cameras today are nothing like the ones that the little girls used but fakes can still be made
(See the Case of the Cottingley Fairies by Joe Cooper, isbn 978-0671010263)
No so long ago Brian Walski, a staff photographer at the LA Times lost his job after an image that he produced, that was shown on page 1 of the paper, turned out to two images mixed together. :-
Some say he made a mistake, others say he was improving the image. I suppose he did take all of the images. An interesting comment was made by another photographer who stated that he had never taken images in a war zone, so he would not condemn Mr Walski.
Above are clearly corrections to the image as a whole, but what about removing small faults. Is it still a true image? Cropping , turning things around, improving colour and tone they are all adjustments to what the photographer saw through the lens.
One of the images I have previously used in my course work was criticised by a judge in a photographic competition, Here you can see the points that he made.
He said the yellow brick should have been removed and that the wall behind the girls arms is too close in colour to her coat? But this is the image that I saw.
On the other end of the correction scale is the removal of say dust spots from an image and this is what I have been asked to do, this is an image of the London Skyline.
Dust / hair marked
As you can see there is still some work to do, especially where the colour of the sky changes, but the image is much cleaner. (After taking this image my camera was taken to fixation to have the lens cleaned!)
For the second part of this exercise I had to find an image that I had previously taken that had Lens flare.
I firstly had a look into what lens flare is:-
Well it appears that it is unwanted light reflecting through the lenses in a DSLR, this cause a pattern that can be seen in the image. On a DSLR you can reduce it by not shooting into the sun and by using a lens hood.
According to Michael Freeman (Photo School,(isbn 0-333-34289-5) Glossary of terms, it is “Non-image formatting light which degrades the quality of an image , because of scattering and reflection”
Here is an example of an image that contains lens flare.
Yon can see the unwanted circles in the image. One thing I did find interesting is that some photographers like to add lens flare into their images, so it is not always a bad thing.
I took this image for a previous exercise. The sun was shining through the front window and has left these marks on the image.
You can see the small circles in the red paint on there right side of the chair. They are all travelling in the same direction of the sun, they also have a completely different appearance from the dust spots above.
Again I have been asked to try and remove them from this image to improve it.
You can see that the last image has a vastly reduced amount of lens flare and I think with a little more skill/practice I should be able to get rid of more of it.
I used The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 book by Scott Kelby to assist me with this exercise. (isbn 13:978-0-321-70091-9)
This was another interesting exercise, it really makes you that ink about what you are doing to your images and if it is right. There will be people on both sides of the fence and people sitting on it in relation to the ethics of altering images. I’m not sure at the moment. I try not to change too much, but there may come a day when, if working for a customer, that I am expected to do so.
Looking at the course notes further interesting exercises are ahead