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removed account4

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Maybe Atget was lazy or just had to satisfy himself. I once worked part-time for a commercial photographer and one of my duties was to help sweep the floor that was in a shot that we were making. In addition to pleasing the photographer, we also had to please the customer (architects) who were paying for the shoot.......Regards!
not sure how anyone could think this guy who
woke up at like 4am every day to expose giant dry plates could be lazy.
the branch on the steps was probably something there every day
and he probably saw it as an aid to his composition.
i think there is a difference between photographing
something as a beauty shot / portfolio shot for an architecture firm
that tries to present a site or structure as some sort of utopian ideal or sculptural form
and doing as-is / existing condition photography.
this wasn't a studio set, and throughout his documentary project he photographed people as well
( les petits métiers )
as well as gypsies and the homeless.
it would follow ( him being lazy for not removing a branch )
that he could have straightened out their clothes and carts and encampments
given them a bath/shower and / or made them look even poorer or depressed or dirty
or dressed them in refined clothes or put them in a
studio ( à la avedon's american west series or irving penn's worlds in a small room )
but he didn't, he showed people the way they really were, just like the buildings
street corners, park sculptures and everything else ...

IDK i think there is a difference between picking up trash ( which to my eyes is an abomination )
someplace and leaving a branch, unless the trash is the point ( a series on desecration ).
 

pdeeh

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small medium or large format, i used to refuse to move anything that offended my compositon, whether it was a cigarette end or a twig or a branch, preferring to make an alternative composition or not to bother at all.

I'm more relaxed now.

Cigarette ends and twigs can stay, but maybe a big dead branch gets moved. I won't remove anything living. I might try and tuck an intrusive live branch away behind another. On the very odd occasion when a yuman bean strays into the frame, I just shoot anyway. It always annoys me when they notice I'm snappin' and try to scurry out of shot.

Y'know, whatever ...

I don't subscribe to the "if Atget (or Bresson or Weston or whomsoever) didn't do it, then it's a moral imperative not to do it myself" school of thought. If there is one. And I expect there is.
 

benjiboy

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Sorry
If a twig bothers me in a shot, I will remove it.
Same goes for a leaf.
I'm not looking to redo what I see in front of me but, come on, a twig?
I agree, "gardening" is a legitimate control in photography.
 

nmp

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Very interesting to read thru all the opinions and there are as many as there are photographers. Everyone has a line that perhaps they do not cross (or may be don't have any.) I for one have a view and it most definitely subject to change as well. However, I do not have any moral judgement to make of others with different approaches to their photography. To each his/her own. As long as the image reflects what you want it to, by all means pursue all avenues that you are comfortable with to achieve that objective. Except, of course, if you are a pig and do a major clear-cutting to get a better view of the mountain.
 

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I'm not sure there are right or wrong answers here -- and certainly not because some Great Photographer did this or that. I shoot urban landscapes which include litter and the like, and it defeats the purpose for me to alter the scene. If I'm shooting a portrait in an urban setting, the situation would be different. I might clear a bench of leaves, pick up trash, or whatever. The only "wrong" thing would be to leave a place in worse shape than when you got there.
 

baachitraka

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litter yes, properties no...
 

Sirius Glass

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I have even been known to remove twigs from steps when I WASN'T taking a picture.

The question was asked if you would remove the twig from a man made structure.
It doesn't belong there. It belongs on the forest floor, not on the stone steps.

I have even been known to remove litter from locations when I WASN'T taking a picture.
 

tedr1

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When a photo is viewed by someone other than the photographer there is no information present regarding manipulation of the scene, it could be "as found" or it could be tidied up or manipulated in other ways, no one else knows but the photographer.
 

Ron789

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It depends on what kind of photography you practice. If you're doing documentary photography, it's important to stay close to reality. But even then it may be perfectly OK to slightly modify the scene, or the photo afterwards, to strengten the message. If you're doing commercial photography, like advertising, typically everything is artificial; and yet, this can produce great photo's. If you're using photography as an instrument to create art, everything is allowed and often the entire scene is created by the artist.
So the key question is: as a photographer, what do you want to communicate to your audience, what do you want to achieve through your photo's?
 

jvo

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If you use a filter on your camera, are you not changing the picture and whats in it?
 

Theo Sulphate

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If you use a filter on your camera, are you not changing the picture and whats in it?

Yes, that's true. But that's art.
:smile:

If I were a photojournalist rather than a hobbyist, I would photograph everything as-is. I wouldn't move or arrange anything or ask anyone in the photo to do anything. The only effect I would introduce would be my choice of film, such as Tri-X.
 

Sirius Glass

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If you use a filter on your camera, are you not changing the picture and whats in it?

That is not the same thing. You are comparing traffic jams with drownings.
 

MattKing

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If I were a photojournalist rather than a hobbyist, I would photograph everything as-is. I wouldn't move or arrange anything or ask anyone in the photo to do anything. The only effect I would introduce would be my choice of film, such as Tri-X.
You wouldn't last long as a photojournalist!:whistling:
Photojournalists do a lot of storytelling with their cameras. And a lot of storytelling involves positive direction.
That being said, there is a small subset of photojournalism where the photographer doesn't do anything more than record what is happening.
 
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cliveh

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When a photo is viewed by someone other than the photographer there is no information present regarding manipulation of the scene, it could be "as found" or it could be tidied up or manipulated in other ways, no one else knows but the photographer.

No one else knows, but does this effect the response of the viewer? If I viewed that picture by Atget with the twig not there, I would still regard it as a great image, but the fact that he left it there makes me think about his regard to the integrity of the image and the simplicity/Zen MO approach to the image.
 
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pdeeh

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*affect
 

pdeeh

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No one else knows, but does this effect the response of the viewer? If I viewed that picture by Atget with the twig not there, I would still regard it as a great image, but the fact that he left it there makes me think about his regard to the integrity of the image and the simplicity/Zen MO approach to the image
You and the Oozelum Bird are circling in close proximity here, Clive.

Consider the situation where you look at an Atget and there are no twigs to be seen, for instance.

In a more general case, consider what the effect upon the viewer might be of seeing (or not seeing) in a photograph something that was (or wasn't) there in the scene that was photographed, before it was photographed, and that the viewer would never know was (or wasn't) there in the first place.

Or, even more generally, consider what difference it might make to the effect of a photograph upon the viewer had the photograph not been taken at all.

I do understand that asking the sort of question you have appears at first sight to be interesting, but attempts to answer soon indicate that it boils down either to logical absurdity, or the trivially true; in the latter case, that "content matters".
 

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If you are using a large format to photograph a scene, it may take 10 minutes or so to set up the shot and compose. Many photographers may wish to clean up a shot by removing superfluous material like the twig on the steps in the foreground of this shot. However Atget chose to photograph the scene exactly as it is. Would other do the same?

There is nothing wrong with moving or removing, with placing or replacing an element (superfluous or not) in a scene (before or after), in any format/set up time.

As we all know this aspect of removing (or including) elements is an obvious section of (licit) "Touching" in the historical evolution of Photography, and not only involves the "after" step. False/True scenery situations have taken place long before Atget and nothing has changed much, neither the debate nor the human behavior in the decision adopted.

[The clear importance of "Touching" BEFORE reverts to the fact that one should act with respect or should have enough education to act as a minimum sense of behavior: either towards others, either towards the scenery created by Nature, or towards a scenery created by Humans.]

We do not know for sure what have happened here with Atget, but even knowing his preferences/working style (scenes exactly as he found them), even knowing his method/working equipment we have no guarantees that it was always like that.

On the other hand that place surely is not the same right now, ... the trees could have been partially felled, or changed by nature, and the steps could have been altered in the same both ways ... is that new scenery fair/unfair if another photographer decides to include/remove a new twig? What's the difference?​

Whether that twig was there or not and Atget did not move it, as if it was there but he decided to change its position, as if it was not and decided to include it (or if a dog left that twig there or the wind brought it to the ground the very moment Atget pressed the shutter ...), in the absence of clarification, any importance in the act is minimal.

At this point it would be good idea to emphasize that the scene should not take more importance due to the (Historical) technical discussions about whether something is set or removed, and the same thing happens whatever the author may be. The work-attraction is always part of something that makes it stand out together. The author-attractive is the idea itself or the very eye of the photographer (the perspective adopted, the light chosen, the historical value of the place, the effort of the author and his material used together with the merit of documentary work - in this case - or for simple pleasure ... and a long etcetera).

Enough is to know that everything is reduced to the integrity, honesty or clear conscience of the author. And when we mix both things (author & work) we have left the author's attitude to the work and in the information left behind on the facts. In the absence of this (the communicative decision) any opinion based on the viewer's view takes on the same value as any other opinion (no matter who) and the importance of the element as superfluous (or not) is null.

This is not the case, of course, in the structural aspect of the image, with the difficult & obvious subsequent assessment "of every element in the frame", which in any case will bring no other result than another opinion.

So, would other do the same? it is an individual choice of attitude ... for both strongly related facts: a) doing the same (or not), b) leaving information about it behind ... or not.
 

LAG

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I don't subscribe to the "if Atget (or Bresson or Weston or whomsoever) didn't do it, then it's a moral imperative not to do it myself" school of thought

Me neither!

... If there is one. And I expect there is.

But that's how groups with common photographic style are made. There's nothing wrong with that!
 

LAG

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No one else knows, but does this effect the response of the viewer? If I viewed that picture by Atget with the twig not there, I would still regard it as a great image...

Excuse me cliveh, that's because you're removing the twig from your mind!
 

Theo Sulphate

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No one saw or discusses the Coke can he removed from the steps before making the photo.
 

Arklatexian

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No one saw or discusses the Coke can he removed from the steps before making the photo.

If we are still talking about Atget, he would be much more apt to have moved an empty wine bottle. However, if it is true that only people in the U.S. litter, there would be neither an empty Coke can or an empty wine bottle to remove thereby not disturbing the twig that fell by chance upon the steps. I personally don't buy the idea that "NATURE" does anything "on purpose". It was either placed there by human hands or by chance. .But that is a whole different kettle of fish.........Regards!
 
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