... but people can be manipulative.
In a post today on his blog, Captain Ahab talks about applying some of what he's learning on his Open University course in digital photography. One technique is that of touching up a photo to remove an undesired element. He gives an example where he removes a television aerial from a photo of Burgh Mill in Norfolk. In his post he doesn't put the "before" and "after" photos side by side, so I've done it here for you (if it works):
There it is/was, sticking up from the ridge of the pantiled roof.
I started to say what follows in a comment on Captain Ahab's post, but thought it better to make a blog post of my own of it.
Andy, I'm all in favour of tweaking photos to correct defects in the capturing process - improving detail in the blacks, colour correction and so on - but I think it's wrong to "touch up" the image by removing things which you don't like about it. That TV aerial, for example, might be considered an ugly modern intrusion, but it was there at the time you took the photo. Perhaps it says something about the disregard of some people for the environment, but you can't - or shouldn't - deny it was (is) there.
I will admit some circumstances where touching up of a photo could be forgiven: few would want a wedding photo, for example, marred by a road sign sticking out of the bride's head. But even this could probably have been avoided by better positioning of the camera in the first place.
I believe tinkering with the composition of a photo after it's been taken is dangerous. People tend to accept photos at face value. If some photos have been altered we risk people accepting them as the "truth", whereas it wasn't what the camera saw at the time.
This is especially hazardous when photos are viewed after the passage of time. In ten - a hundred - years, any explanation about the photo might be lost, but the photo itself could remain, misrepresenting the true scene. When we look at old black-and-white photos, for example, we don't often suspect that they've been altered. And it's often the very details in the background which are more interesting than the subject: the clothes people are wearing, say.
I suppose it's my background in the BBC and especially in news, where accuracy is held to be supremely important.
Andy, I hope you're not offended. I know this was just an exercise for you for your course. But I wanted to say it!
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