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Ethical Considerations

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  #51  
Old 08-27-2001, 08:14 PM
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Unfortunately that's true Tom. I guess I'm one of the lucky ones because I don't put a great deal of value on money or tangible things. Give me my family and friends, enough to live modestly, and health, and I'm a happy camper. That doesn't mean that I never want anything newer or better, only that I probably wouldn't have as hard a time refusing a shady job as *some* others might have. I think there will be *many* people who will misuse their talents that way. I think we all know that if it's only money we're after, it would be easy enough to make a small fortune rather easily if you let your morals slip.

Ed
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  #52  
Old 08-27-2001, 09:26 PM
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Once you compromise your ethics and values for the mere consideration of money, you are on a downward slope and so is your business. As word gets out that "so-and-so" is not too picky about what they will do for cash, you are going to get some pretty disreputable types coming to you---AND the decient type people will begin avoiding you. Its a fact that cannot be denied. It may be hard at first to refuse to do certain kinds of work,especially when funds are tight, but in the long run it will reap handsome rewards. Business is more than money--It is a responsibility as well-----to yourself and to your community. Tom
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  #53  
Old 08-28-2001, 04:01 AM
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Well said!

Ed
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  #54  
Old 08-28-2001, 10:37 AM
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ED, You know, there is one very powerful tool common to all image editing programs which no book or class no matter how comprehensive pays much attention to and that is the "REMOVE REALITY" tool, which is really too bad since its misuse destroys ALL your work, self respect,community support and hurts people you dont even know. I sometimes wish that along with all the other tools, instructors would take a little more time discussing this one. Probably wont happen though. Not "politically correct" or something. Tom
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  #55  
Old 08-28-2001, 10:43 AM
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Excellent post! Most people don't even consider that tool.

Ed
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  #56  
Old 08-28-2001, 11:38 AM
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That "Remove Reallity" tool comes in quite handy when replacing a leg or arm missing in action. Don't we advertise that ability in our ads that claim we can remove people from scenes? Such as an unwanted X? It's a tight rope of decission here where to draw the line. Did we really change history by removing an unwanted person from a scene when that family no longer wishes to look at him? He was still there whether their photo shows it or not. Or is borrowing parts from other photos compromising the integrity of the original photo regardless of the condition it's in? If so, then just what are we here to do in the first place?
DJ
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  #57  
Old 08-28-2001, 02:01 PM
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Dj, You hit the point exactly when you said " A tightrope of decision" . Removing unwanted persons from a photo is changing the reality which the particular photo depicts as, even though an original still exists ( unless it is destroyed after the copy is made) the copy is likely the one to be displayed and circulated thus giving those who see it the impression that the only people present at that time and specific place were those pictured. From the stand point of a future researcher that photo is worse than misleading, it is almost useless as what else is not correct about it. Look for example at books from antiquity which have been translated and copied countless times,the copyists sometimes helpfully inserting sentences and entire passages which were not part of the original ,this then being recopied until it becomes difficult to sort out the real from the appended. I am personally loath to removing data like that,regardless of the motivation of the customer. Now I am NOT saying I am right, I feel that if a customer wants something like that done, that is their business and I willnot judge them or a digital restorer who does that. I just wont. To me altering a photograph so as to change the entire context in which it was created goes more to the "SPECIAL EFFECT" line rather than Restore.Restore means to me the "cleaning up" of a photo without changing the essential nature of what was there when it was made. Now there is nothing wrong with "special effect" photos--provided they are identified as such so as not to give the impression of being an exact copy of the original---there's the Orwellian theme again- but say putting the picture of a dead relative in a photo which was taken after they had passed on sort of gives me a chill unless done as say a part of a collage or something like that. To see Aunt Martha standing next to the Bride and Groom when she had been deceased for 10 years before the Wedding picture was taken well..... The family that wants a persona non grata removed--Thats their business. I just wont do it. I will gladly refer them on. I guess I'm hung up on the historical and future value of of restored photos kept as close to the original as possible. Again, I dont think I'm necessarily right or wrong--that is just where my comfort zone is. Replacing a missing arm or leg as part of a restore is to me acceptable, providing that you know for a fact that the individual was not an amputee. This is ment seriously as many Civil War Vets were just that, and if you are working on a picture which dates even as late as the mid 1920's there were still some Civil war vets around as well as those from other conflicts. Trying to explain to a less than amused customer how Grandfather Alfred suddenly grew a new arm to replace the one he lost years earlier at Shilo could be worse than embarrasing--it could hurt you and your business reputation. Pardon the rather protracted diatribe, Tom

Last edited by thomasgeorge; 08-28-2001 at 03:21 PM.
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  #58  
Old 08-28-2001, 02:58 PM
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You have a very valid point in the things you are saying.

My roomie, in her photocropping frenzy has come across photos of people she didn't even know, and has even come across some family "secrets" because of them. Some fairly simple (oh, that was your friend you met at camp that you never saw again), to strange (that's a cousin who got adopted and we don't see him anymore), to surreal (Oh! HIM! That's an uncle we don't talk about.) and generally those are pictures that are simply thrown away.

one way or another, a family will alter their history to their satisfaction.

unfortunately, we're a disposable culture, in which if something doesn't fit just nicely in our little frame, it's simply cut out.

Rick
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  #59  
Old 08-28-2001, 03:16 PM
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Rick, Excellent points!! Which raises the question, since all families will alter their history to their own satisfaction( a MOST insightful and true observation,Rick), should we even worry about preserving the factual context of the photos we work on or simply follow the clients directions, whatever they may be, or do we have a higher responsibility to future generations who hopefully will see our work or something in between? Tom
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  #60  
Old 08-28-2001, 04:04 PM
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Wow! I go away for a couple of hours, and come home to this? It could be a nightmare to make guidelines for everyone to follow. IMHO, each and every one of us has to find their own comfort level with this type of situation. While you might find that deleting or replacing something in one photograph is beneficial to all concerned, you might consider it taboo to another similar photo. Where do you draw the line? I tend to agree with Tom in part of how I might handle a situation. To change something that might make a research impossible or improbable, I don't think I would do that either. But I don't think it is easy to always know what part of the photo that might be. In Ms. Eismann's book on restoration, she has an example of a young woman who wanted to be in a photo with her father, who had passed away. Ms. Eismann made that possible, although I guess you could say that she misrepresented history. If that job came to me, I would do the same as she did -- make the young woman happy. There comes a time when you must be the judge about the possibility of hindering research. Most of the time, I think common sense will pave the way. Historical items are a completely different thing. In my opinion, they should *never* be altered if it means changing the contents of the item.

Ed
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