1138 – The Man That Got Away

I don’t know if you like that image. I do. I like the man in the background and how he is in exactly the right position. Would it disturb you to know it, if this were a composite?

I sometimes do such things. I take a series of images of, say, a bicycle, and then I find that I can’t get a satisfying background. When the right side is perfect, someone is on the left side, when the left side is OK, a car comes in from the right. On a busy street, you can play that game for quite a while and still end up without the image that you are looking for. Sometimes in such a situation I may combine two exposures, say, one where the left side has a perfectly empty background and the right side has a person in the background, just in the right place, just in the right pose.

Do such things disturb you? Would you rather want to not know it? Imagine a situation when you can’t possibly find it out: would you want to be told or not?

The Song of the Day is “The Man That Got Away” from the 1999 Cher collection “Bittersweet: The Love Songs Collection”. Hear it on YouTube.

11 thoughts on “1138 – The Man That Got Away”

  1. It doesn’t trouble me one bit. Do what you do! 🙂 The man makes the image work really well. It provides a good bit of balance to the right side.

  2. Oh, no, not the least. To me, photography is an art. You change colours, add darkness and light, even making composites if that’s what you envision. A very nice composition, this one. I think it’s the wheel, which makes everything that seemingly rest at its axis to tip over to the left, if not balanced by the man that came to rescue. Well made!

  3. I do like this image, and the man particularly makes it work for me.

    As a viewer, I would rather not know it’s a composite because that robs some of the magic from my experience of the image.

    But as a photographer, I like to know because it helps me learn how better to re-create that magic for the viewer from an actual experience.

  4. It doesn’t disturb me at all.
    what counts for me is the image you show to us.

    i love the man and how he has his feet
    the angle you got the picture
    the angle the man has with the street
    it all makes that the image works
    love the title as well 🙂
    it connect the man even more to the bike

    yes, i really love this street scene
    or how you created it 🙂
    good one to me

    have a nice day, andreas 🙂

  5. As always, what any photographer does with his or her images is up to them. No one else has any say in that whatsoever.

    On the other hand, how I – as the viewer – respond to a given image is my business. Once you put it out there to be viewed, the only vote that counts is mine. The same “rule” applies to every other viewer. It’s a very personal thing.

    Having stated both disclaimers, I would add that knowing you had “manipulated” an image would almost certainly affect my response. Negatively. It might depend on the degree of manipulation, but if you tell me that you’ve added people that weren’t actually there or changed backgrounds by adding a building or changing a cloudy sky to a sunny sky, then I definitely have a problem with that. My personal definition of the word “photograph” is admittedly a very narrow one. And adding or removing elements means that the original photograph has become some kind of “photo illustration”. It’s no longer a photograph. So that is how I’ll judge it.

    So yes, I’d want to know that you had created some kind of composite. In fact, I’ll go even further and say that I think the photographer, if they’re honest, should disclose such information. Some people won’t care; others will. But at least it’s out there.

  6. I agree with Ove: “To me, photography is an art.” Moreover I admire the way you set the whole picture. As a technician you know to manipulate an image, as an artist you know why esthetically you do it.

  7. Interesting. So far we have six “don’t cares” and Paul Maxim. Paul, you seem to be in your usual role 🙂

    Thanks to you all, I’m not really ready to answer yet. For once I am really interested in YOUR opinions, and I’d like to hear as many of them before I voice mine, and then I am not yet sure where I really stand anyway 😀

    Paul, you stress your independence as a viewer. How does this match with the fact that you make your judgment depend upon what I disclose? Isn’t there kind of a contradiction? I know, it’s about “photography” vs “photo illustration”, but where does this leave the actual work? Does this mean that the importance of a work as an artifact, is less than the importance of how it came into being?

    And I have another question: If – due to a disclosure from my side – you see an image as less of a “photograph”, how does this influence your judgment about it as a “photo illustration”? Is it only about the word? Or is it less because it is a “photo illustration”? Are all “photo illustrations” less than “photographs”?

  8. ” And I have another question: If – due to a disclosure from my side – you see an image as less of a “photograph”, how does this influence your judgment about it as a “photo illustration”? Is it only about the word? Or is it less because it is a “photo illustration”? Are all “photo illustrations” less than “photographs”? ”

    So is there a hierarchy of artistic work…best if photographic, second best if photographic illustration, third best if a derivative of a photography such as work rendered as paintings, etc? I hope not!

    I rather judge each work on it own artistic merits. 🙂

  9. It would only matter if you were a photojournalist and your picture was meant to be an accurate record of events and you were presenting it as an accurate record of events. Anything else doesn’t matter – do what you want. If it stands up as a picture and you can’t see the photoshopping, then that’s fine. There’s too much precious crap talked about photography. No one asks a painter if he considered putting a figure in here or altering a perspective there.

  10. There is definitely place for both photography and photo illustration, but the criteria to judge them cannot be the same, e.g. the composition of a still life or any kind of photo illustration have to be to the point whereas for an unmanipulated street scene, I would rather be less stringent on that point.
    So, yes I would like to know whether something has been added or removed from the composition.
    One can argue that a flash is some kind of manipulation as well. That’s true but however it doesn’t bother me as much as this kind of manipulation is ‘visible’ by looking at the photography.

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