I tried to search for answers regarding ethics in aviation photography, had very little luck with it.
I was wondering at what point does an aviation photo become art as opposed to a picture? I mean, I don't think that simple things like cropping a picture really affect the realistic nature of the photo as opposed to cloning part of the image.
Since photos are supposed to show exactly what happened when the picture was taken, would things like changing the colors or levels or other things change it into a sort of art?
With the plethora of programs avialable it has become very easy to manipulate pictures and make things happen in them that never happened in real life. So, when does a photo become "art" as opposed to a "picture" ? Tell us what you think.
Gravity always wins!
Hi flyvertosset, I prefer to substitute philosophy for ethics and drop aviation from "ethics in aviation photography" especially regarding altering photographic images e.g. during the Stalin Era, but thats for another discussion.
What is art? Before Marcel Duchamp walked into a local hardware store and purchased a urinal, it had a much narrower definition. After he entered an art gallery with the urinal in tow, set the urinal on a plinth and placed a placard beneath it that read "fountain" did the limitless possibilities of "what is art" set the imagination free for all time.
Is a painting art, yes. Is a photograph art? Yes, but this was not always considered the case, especially in the formative days of photography. Many painters felt threatened by the spectre of this new technology, especially when it threatened many artists livelyhoods, who up until then earned a pretty penny from Royal Commissions. If only Vincent Van Gogh had a crystal ball. In fact according to the David Hockney and Falco thesis a camera obscura, the forerunner to the principle design feature of the camera itself, was used to recreate photo realistic images rendered in oils on large canvases. (For further reading google : Secret Knowledge, the David Hockney and Falco thesis). Many artists including the Realist French artist Edgar Degas was influenced by the new technology, applying cropping techniques first used in photography and applied them to his paintings.
Technology, creates both evolution and revolution, and is all prevasive, being felt throughout society and the world, time and time again, throughout history, sweeping people up along for the ride, while sweeping others aside in it's wake, for better and for worse.
With art and technology, however at the end of the day, you still have a choice, as to how much you embrace the current technology, especially as it presently applies to photography. I choose to embrace digital photography and all the tools and all the possibilities it offers, including the photographic software, although I still haven't worked out how to get rid of the jaggies, as my shots are testiment to, but that is more about knowledge than technique. And there lies the rub - technique. For me it's all about technique at the end of the day, because you can hand the most expensive camera to a complete novice and still get terrible amateurish results, (to my mind a professional is an amateur who never gave up). And like wise you can give a professional a cheap camera and still get stunning creative, innovative results.
The photographer still has to use his or her knowledge and experience to set the camera correctly as far as exposure, colour temperature, shutter speed, aperture, film ISO etc, etc, then decide where to stand in relation to the light, to position high or low, not to mention select the lens and the focal length. And then there is the small matter of timing as Henri Cartier Bresson knows all too well, although motor drives have taken the sting out of that small matter. And then the final ingredient and the most important of all in my book, before you get your digital image anywhere near a post software editing programme is that old chestnut of lady luck, and no amount of technology will alter that outcome (although give the Quantum Physicists enough time!!!)
But still there is room for the purists, God bless them, the champions of analogue film and all it's potential scratches and inherent grain structure, not to mention the joy of sending off a roll of film and waiting and hour (it wasn't always that short a time) for the results. I will grant you that film still has a much better shelf life. The analogue purists will then be happy to join the vinyl record champions of the world, with all the audible scratches and earthy sounds, and join the people who prefer to let the world know what they have been up to, by writing a letter using the good old pen and paper and sending it in the post to be delivered the good old way, the way they remembered, now was it by horse, or cart, no I think it was by courier pigeon no that was before the car, ah you know what I mean, before all the changes. That reminds me of a saying by the Futurist, Alvin Tofler, now how did it go?
Someone once said that, "nothing is more permanent than change" What I'm really trying to say is the world is big enough for both, the old and the new, the analogue and the digital, including photographic editing software, but most importantly we need the old ways, in order to appreciate the new ways.
As far as photos being supposed to show exactly what happened when the picture was taken, you could argue that either side of the aircraft photograph being taken in level flight, it did a barrel roll, so how is that representative of what happened? I think video or motion pictures are more representative of what happened in a linear sense, although editing is still a possibility in distorting the apparent truth. Look no further than the JFK assasination, witnessed by hundreds of people, filmed and photographed from various angles, representative of an event that to this day cannot still be agreed upon as to exactly what happened. For that matter would the Warren Commission have preferred a sharp crisp digital image over a grainy film still or 8mm film frame, I wonder, but 8mm in the hands of a member of the public, was cutting edge at the time.
Now where was I. Ah yes the art question. For me art has alot in common with what is considered obscene, in that people don't necessarily know what it looks like, but recognise it when they see it. The beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Is it art? Who knows, I'll let the viewer decide.