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Photo Retouching "Improving" photos, post-production, correction, etc.

The Difference Between Retouch and Restore

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  #11  
Old 08-25-2002, 12:24 AM
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Jakaleena Jakaleena is offline
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Ok, more great answers...

Now here's the $million$ question...

Does it really matter at all whether you call it restoration, retouching or <gasp!> blatant manipulation as long as it's what the client wants and they are happy with it...??

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  #12  
Old 08-25-2002, 12:51 AM
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Well, that was my thought Jak. No - I don't think it matters what you call it as long as the client is happy with the image!
Jeanie
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  #13  
Old 08-25-2002, 02:02 AM
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No, it doesn't matter.
The client would probably just call it "fixed".

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  #14  
Old 08-25-2002, 09:29 AM
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In most cases it probably wouldn't make a difference. But if you give anything in writing, such as a receipt, and you call it a restoration, it could make a difference. For instance, if you did a manipulation on a photo that could have historical value, even to one family, that could be cause for concern. What I'm getting at here is things being genealogical or historical in nature. Although I'm not heavily into genealogy, it has been noted that falsehoods pertaining to genealogical information have been encountered for many years. Some people have actually made family histories, where they have traced your ancestors to the throne of whatever country. Then they sell these histories to unknowing clients. Many times people have been ripped off for huge amounts of money. So any photo that changes history should not be called anything except a manipulation in my opinion.

Ed
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  #15  
Old 08-25-2002, 09:30 AM
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....and that's why I simply call my business "Photo Fixing"

Margaret
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  #16  
Old 08-25-2002, 09:49 AM
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Jakaleena Jakaleena is offline
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Good point, Ed.

Say I do a manipulation for Fannie. Her parents divorced when she was a baby and hate each other's guts. No photo of them together exists. Fannie wants Mom & Dad in a photo together. I do the work and give her a receipt for a manipulation.

Fifty years down the road, Fannie's great grandchildren find my manipulated photo. Fannie has passed on, and the receipt I provided was lost years ago...
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  #17  
Old 08-25-2002, 10:56 AM
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I enjoy doing work that involves manipulating history, but I'm also uneasy about it.

Jak, your scenerio where you put the two warring parents into the same picture and then the manipulation gets passed down with no documentation to alert people that it is a "forgery" troubles me. I wouldn't want to be part of perpetuating a myth.

I get asked to remove people from photos - in one case, there were three men standing side by side and the customer wanted them separated onto individual pictures - I had no problem with that. Another customer wants me to remove a stranger from an 1898 picture of her great-great-grandmother as a young girl - I'd rather do the extraction electronically rather than have her mangle the original picture.

What I'm not comforable with is putting the 5th brother into a studio portrait of the other 4. The picture is from the 1940's and all the brothers are in their various military uniforms. I don't know why the 5th brother wasn't in the portrait, but there must have been a reason - maybe he was on a secret mission in the Pacific, who knows. Faking the portrait to make it look like he was there, puts a stop to the question and possibly puts a stop to research into a very interesting period of family history.

As it happens, I've worked on this manipulation for a couple of weeks off and on, and it's impossible to match the 5th brother to the other 4 and I'm going to have to explain that I can't do it - the more I think about it the more relieved I am.

Maybe I should consider a different line of work....

Margaret
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  #18  
Old 08-25-2002, 01:13 PM
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I think there comes a time when you have to make a judgement as to whether or not it's the right thing to do. I know in Katrin's book, there was an example of a daughter who wanted to be placed in a portrait with her father, who was deceased. IMHO, something like that would be acceptable as long as there were no other elements in the picture that would cause a possible problem in the future. Excellent thread Jak.

Ed
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  #19  
Old 08-25-2002, 01:32 PM
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historical credibility

Ed, you made a really important point. I'm glad that a novice like me heard this at the start of my journey.
Thanks.
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  #20  
Old 08-25-2002, 05:00 PM
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I am the keeper of my own family's genealogy, which I've been working on diligently for years. I've had many people (both relatives and not) ask to have people combined in a photograph that were not actually togther at that point. Even sometimes not all living at that point...

I was in Tennessee this last Memorial Day for a reunion of my mom's siblings. Well, the 5 remaining children anyway. One of my Uncles passed away a couple of years ago. I did a group portrait of the five of them, and four of them want me to add my deceased uncle into the photo (the one dissentor thinks it's a morbid idea).

As the family genealogist, it really doesn't bother me much that I'm asked to combine people into one photograph. It's more a sentimental issue than a historical one. That was the first time all of my aunts and my uncle had gotten together that way in many years. My deceased uncle was on their minds, and in their hearts. He was certainly present there in spirit and memory. And, anyone in the future with birth and death information will know that it was impossible for him to have been physically present at that gathering even though he may have been added to the photograph.

I remember doing a job for one client who had photographs of her parents from their honeymoon. There was no one there to take a photo of them together in that particular spot, so they took each other's pictures. Obviously, they weren't both in the same image together, and the client wanted them to be.

The only issue with changing history that I personally would give any great thought to is on photographs from historical societies and the like, where accurate historical records are the point of the exercise. Image manipulation is a common fact of today's society. Before photography, there was painting, which was completely open to manipulation of the facts. I believe that future generations will take that fact into account, just as we take into account the fact that in certain points in history, boys were commonly clothed in dresses for photographic sittings... It's those little societal idiosyncrasies that make doing a genealogy so interesting. It's like solving a puzzle, or being some kind of Dick Tracy sleuth. It adds interest. Researching those types of things teaches a genealogist a lot about the kind of society their ancestors were living in at the time, giving them more insight into the history than just plain basic facts & figures.

Please remember that this is all my own personal opinion on the subject. If it makes Fannie happy to see her parents together, even if only in a photograph, I personally just don't have a huge problem with creating that for her. I can mention the historical ramifications to her, but in the end I will go with her judgement call on the matter. I also don't want to turn into some kind of "Photo Cop" who decides what is morally correct with respect to other people's photographs. That's not to say that it's wrong for anyone else to feel that they must maintain some kind of historical integrity. It's just something that I am not too personally concerned about.
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