Go Back   Freethought Forum > Blogs > Ari

Rate this Entry

'Digital Enhancement' and selling prints

Posted 10-12-2007 at 02:55 AM by Ari

Every so often union square has an art show where set artists sell their works from paintings to sculptures to photographs, in general it's setup for the tourists. There is always at least one photographer with signs above every easle "Printed from negative film, not digitally enhanced." Which both irks me and makes me laugh. It's basically a sales tactic taking advantage of general ignorance.

Most people (those that still remember film) are used to pushing a button and assuming the work is done, the photo is sealed and they just need to take it to a walmart and out pops their print. Few are aware that major edits and "enhancements" can be done to prints, but most are aware of photoshop and its magic and thus distrust digital.

People who feed on that distrust don't help the situation. In reality the legacy features of photoshop, those that have been there for years, all take their name and function from darkroom techniques and were designed to work similar to the darkroom. Of course there is no mention if the images have been traditionally enhanced.

Taking a quick trip back in time notes editing of images to be quite old. In 1858 an early "combine," Robinson's Fading away caused an uproar when it was originally shown without mention that it was a combination of 5 separate images (not to mention an actor as the sick girl). The debate over editing, enhancement and how far is too far has been raging long before the idea of "film" ever existed let alone digital.

Robinson's Fading away. Rleggat photo history.

Digitally edited?

Uelsmann's untitled 1982. Robert klein gallery. Floating trees 1969. Masters of photography.

Sure, in 1969 Uelsmann booted up photoshop 0.2 on his Honeywell 316 and got to work.

To expand on that for a second, it's interesting to note that all digital is enhanced in some way. The chip takes a rather flat low-saturated image (on purpose) which is then edited by the camera (or at home in the case of RAW) to bump contrast and saturation, etc. Similarly how contrasty or saturated a film image is can be adjusted by using different film brands, types, filters, exposure and darkroom chemicals.
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 21545 Comments 2 Email Blog Entry
« Prev     Main     Next »
Total Comments 2


  1. Old Comment
    livius drusus's Avatar
    Very interesting blog entry, Ari. This should totally be an article (hint, hint).

    The question of what constitutes a photomanip is hotly contested at deviantART. Darkroom modifications can make a lot more changes to the "original picture" than a photoshop filter, after all, and yet, some artists are incensed that their photography pieces might be moved to the photomanip gallery when no digital alterations were made.
    Posted 11-13-2007 at 01:51 PM by livius drusus livius drusus is offline
  2. Old Comment
    Ari's Avatar
    Thanks, I may expand it.
    Posted 11-13-2007 at 08:48 PM by Ari Ari is offline

All times are GMT +1. The time now is 01:42 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Page generated in 0.43756 seconds with 17 queries