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  #1  
Old May 8th, 2008, 01:52 AM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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Default Towards "Terms of Endearment" in Photography! Neologisms: "Factive and "Fictive"

Reading CT Boyles’ Riven Rock yesterday set me thinking about the linguistic boxes into which we put ideas. Riven Rock traces the factual lives of the principal characters from the perspective of fictitious protagonist inserted into that sequence of events. The neologism for such a literary work is faction, which is a rather indecisive (in my opinion) amalgam of fact and fiction. There is no comparable neologism in photography, although the term fictive photography gained currency in the 1980s to describe images that depart from factual representation in ways that are structural rather than editorial. The horribly imprecise term digital art in now appears in Wikipedia to encompass digital forms of fictive photography as well as solely computer-generated imagery. Good linguistic reasons to exclude factive digital photos from the nomenclature of digital art escape me completely!

While musing about such terminology, a new word sprang to mind that seemed to reconcile the factive with fictive predicates more appositely than the noun of faction. This word is faictive, the pronunciation of which \fäk-tiv\ should please those folk who consider structural departures from factual representation a form of fakery. The neologism seems precise to me because the combination of first vowels from the source words is the only change to either. Such aggregation nicely mirrors the common practice of combining more than one photograph within a final image (e.g., Uelsmann, Baldessari).

I have two requests for feedback from OPF contributors. First, is there any need for a neologism like faictive photography or some suchlike term? Maybe there isn’t and I’d do better to take more photos rather than ponder over semantics. Second, is their any reason not to create a compatible forum on OPF? Although most such photographs now go to Photography as Art, the very breath of the latter may discourage more tightly targeted submissions.

Cheers, Mike

Last edited by Asher Kelman; March 15th, 2009 at 07:57 PM.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 03:11 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Originally Posted by Michael_Stones View Post

I have two requests for feedback from OPF contributors. First, is there any need for a neologism like faictive photography or some suchlike term? Maybe there isn’t and I’d do better to take more photos rather than ponder over semantics. Second, is their any reason not to create a compatible forum on OPF? Although most such photographs now go to Photography as Art, the very breath of the latter may discourage more tightly targeted submissions.
Mike,

I don't know of a word to cover the need you outline and would go with your neologism!

I like the idea as part of a trilogy of declensions, so to speak:

Factive would better connotate the attempts to portray subjects without alteration as in TIF, Truth in Photography. That's a simpe term, better than TIF, which sounds more pretentious. So this would be taking photographs of the city or countryside as is without cloning out telegraph poles, ugly people or graffiti. This would pretty well exclude adding clouds but might allow minor lighting changes for example.

Fictive would be the setups in fashion and story telling where one uses props and makeup artist, costumes to create a story and characters. The name suits the intention and purpose

Faictive (Your new term) "structural departures from factual representation". When your words, "a form of fakery," is added to your definition, we also think of the words forgery or fraud and so slip away from art to criminality. If just used in a gentle form, limited to "structural departures from factual representation", it might cover innocent artistic expression by merely distorting, adding, subtracting or combining images. I really like this better than "manipulation" which has an exploitative connotation.

Street photography, Photojournalism, forensic Photography would be factive. Vogue, wedding or glamor shots would be fictive, whereas photoshopped creations from factive images would be faictive. It all works well.

With seriousness and humor! I like this and would find the terms useful! :)

Asher

Fraudulent UP warzone images would still be called what it is fraud, forgery and no other word should cover that!
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  #3  
Old May 8th, 2008, 04:17 AM
Nick Rains Nick Rains is offline
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Default Terminology

Faictive - hmm, good try but too esoteric for my taste. You'd have to explain the word every time you used it. I also don't like anything that smells of 'fake'.

I'm inclined to like Factive or even simply Factual Photography. From my own perspective my images are clearly factual which does not imply any great truth, just simply 'that's what I saw and what my camera captured with no intent on my part to exaggerate, deceive or mislead'.

All one needs to do is own up to one's work - if it's a montage, say so - much like Frank Hurley. If it's an attempt at realism then stand by your word.

I've attempted to attach an image which most people find hard to accept. The fact is that it was shot on a 300mm lens for a 1sec exposure and I got one frame sharp. This was shot in 1994 when we had the most intense sunsets for about a year as a result of volcanic ash from Mt Pinutubo. The colour of the sky within the FOV of the long lens was really that red. I have the tranny to prove it and it's a bit hard to filter a 300F2.8 lens.

Point is, it's an honest photo even if people don't believe me, a factual photo by any measure. No fakery, no manipulation, just a single honest image.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 04:44 AM
Nick Rains Nick Rains is offline
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Not so hot on the attachment:



Hope this works.

Nick
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  #5  
Old May 8th, 2008, 04:47 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Hi Nick,

Yes, I too have reservations on faictive but factive and fictive photography are descriptive and the meaning is very easy to get. Factive implies, this is a photograph that attempts to express truthfully what was there. Fictive, in contrast, admits the scene was made up like a fictional event.

Fusitive: Instead of Mike's term Faictive for "Manipulated images": Now we do need such an easy term to cover cutting, replacing and distorting using factive pictures as the building materials. I'd offer a word derived from "Fusion", "Fusitive", or something pertaining to fusion of different elements. This term is honestly this term admitting to using at more than one element or source[/COLOR] for what one sees. If one can add, then a variant would be "to remove"(or add a blank piece of film).

So this new term, "Fusitive" would logically cover any "manipulation" since in essence one is adding/replacing film detail or pixels somewhere that were not in the original and then fusing the layers to make it appear to be incorporated as one image. However, there's no negative connotation and the word is simple. Still, someone can do better.

I really like "Factive" and "Fictive" as they are useful terms and not too pretentious. The word for photoshopped images with blends of different elements (or subtractions of one layer from another) for example, deserves another great respectable word that will not inhibit the images sale like "manipulated"*.

Any better word than Mike's Faictive or my Fusitive for the mechanical alterations we do. Note just getting rid of pimples on a forehead, rather transferring eyes from one figure to another. So think of something better, let us know!


Asher

* "Manipulated" has worked for Polaroid film artistic effect made from the fresh image, but that's the only example, I can come up with right now, where the word has been used to indicate something positive!
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  #6  
Old May 8th, 2008, 07:09 AM
Ray West Ray West is offline
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Hi Nick,

Now, that is a sunset picture that is not 'just another'

Are we talking about making (this can get difficult for me to explain, need new batteries for the ouija) a realistic capture of something that looks 'unreal' in nature, or are we talking about making an unreal looking image of something that looks 'real' in nature. Or in other words, forgetting the 3d/2d transforms, etc.

1) Taking the mundane and making it interesting, or 2) taking the interesting in a mundane way.

The first is what I refer to as 'photoshopping', or in none trade name 'pp' = post processing.

The second, is good field observation.

Of course, it depends to what purpose you want to categorise things. If you have a lot of things clustered together, very similar to each other, you may need finer divisions, then if you just look as it all as 'snapshots' The storage problems, in your mind, or in physical space, of the catalogue, or the actual items, will be broadly similar.

Mike, read less books. They know no more than you, except that they bother to write it down, and folk attach importance to it and buy it.

batteries flat, now.....

Best wishes,

Ray
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Old May 8th, 2008, 11:22 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Default Towards "Terms of Endearment" in Photography!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray West View Post
Hi Nick,

Now, that is a sunset picture that is not 'just another''
Thanks Ray,

The unusual silhouette against the light from below the horizon is as Nick faithfully represents. That photograph is unaltered from the actual file! But to call it "TIF", Truth in Photography, is adding obscurity. It would be so easy to say who cares? For marketing, at least, a better term might be helpful. Well, there is an interest, at least for both the photographer and buyer of photographic art to convey and receive honest information.

Personal Ethic for telling "the truth": Photographers like Nick have a personal ethic to not alter things substantially as they make a latent image to a photograph delivered for showing to the world. Some buyers and certainly collectors of that work really want to know that photographs offered are "what the photographer actually saw". IOW, they look through that photograph and see into that very scene and perhaps even the implications beyond it.

So a term that describes that "genre", if I may use that word here, has utilitarian value, like seeing "no peanut butter" or salt-free on a food label. TIF has been put forward, but I think that "Factive Photography" would be so much better.

For the Photoshop-altered image of a real event or scene: especially with swapping out or joining different elements, people want to know that provenance. However, many photographers and galleries are reluctant to even disclose "photoshopped" and hardly "manipulated", (unless the latter is a Polaroid print), for it sounds as if the picture was less worthy. "Faictive Photography", (my "Fusitive Photography" or else still a more apt term), would convey use multiple sources or mode of expression of the elements that were fused into the photographic print on display.

Other prints have no factual origin from regular life or nature: We are not showing just a photoshopped scene or subject. Instead we're showing an entire allegorical statement, an extreme and unique fantastic storytelling staged in the "Cathedral of the mind".

In this case prints are an expression of magical thinking of creative minds, a total fantasy. Advertisers of women's perfumes, especially, use this approach. I make realistic-appearing photographs consisting of multiple elements, allegorical scenes that illustrate dilemmas or a paradox in life. I'd call this "fictive", since what is shown is not even what would have been observed by looking in at my photography sessions. They never occurred except as constructed from my imagination, in staged scenes or even multiple sources and physically built into the one final image or collection.

Such photographs of mine and also fashion pictures of beauty perfection or some other fantastic conceit are not fraudulent. They do claim a practical purpose of amusing, being thought-provoking or else selling products.

This fantasy is utterly story telling, a fiction. It doesn't happen in people's real experience except when taken to an imaginary place where they benefit from the creative artistry of others. The woman can look into the pages of "Vogue" and then imagine that even she is that fashion model. She actually purchases the magazine to engage in that fantasy, entering a world free of the drab, ordinary and shortcoming that we have to live with. That's not there in the mirror, for nothing! So the term "Fictive" representation would explain, certainly for my potential buyers, what methodology goes into the expensive photograph offered to them. The so-called "Giclée" (squirted) prints, from prepress machines, could be marketed as art! That word Giclée opened up a market of respectability for prints, not made with silver gelatin or lithography or a real press, but the mundane industrial prepress machine, an inject!

So one can argue that the allegorical photograph deserves, for the sake of marketing, a term that discloses its origins. For that, I tentatively offer the term "Fictive".


Photo Nick Rains

The unusual picture comes from Nick in his strict commitment: just what he saw and as photographed. Surely it deserves better then the more obscure TIF? I'd call Nick's work Factive!

None of these terms are scientific definitions because we could show numerous shortcomings yet I believe for certain circumstances they might have real practical use. That's my guess, anyway and the motivation. A kind of "truth in labeling", so to speak.

Asher
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Old May 9th, 2008, 03:19 PM
Michael_Stones Michael_Stones is offline
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Asher, Nick, Ray: We seem to have agreement about the factive and fictive boxes, with quibbles about third box a matter of naming. Need for a new word occurs only if existing words don't fit a useful concept, which seems to be the case here. Nick points out that neologisms need time to gain acceptance; however, name recognition soon follows after usage (e.g., faction in literature; quirks and quarks from an earlier time). Parsimony, precision, and humor are good principles to guide the naming process.

I still think faiction a good name for reasons previously provided. Ray, with his wry thinking, should appreciate the humor that Asher pointed out. Asher's term fusitive avoids negative connotations associated with pronunciation, but also misses the opportunity for irony (and my, probably warped, mind cherishes irony). Fusitive derives from fusion that implies a combination rather than separation of elements. And therein lies a problem.

Some photograhic art that falls within the third category (i.e., neither factive nor fictive) either eschews visual fusion or includes a single image. First, John Baldessari's work includes images that rely on juxtaposition of separated or disparate elements with any fusion a conceptual rather perceptual matter. Some of David Hockney's work used a related technique with multiple images in juxtaposition. Second, techniques for altering structure (as opposed to editorial enhancement) within a single photograph abound within Photoshop. Asher indicated altered Polariod images as another example. Fusion of elements within a photograph is already present, with alteration through post-processing affecting structures pertaining to shape, tonality, color or relationships. Re-fusion might better describe the form of alteration, but I don't think a term like Refusitive Photography will fly. :)

Now onto the second question from the original posting:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael_Stones View Post
... Is their any reason not to create a compatible forum on OPF? Although most such photographs now go to Photography as Art, the very breath of the latter may discourage more tightly targeted submissions.
Nobody gave reasons against such a forum. Does an absence of dissent imply affirmation according to double negative logic, disinterest, or something else? :)
Cheers
Mike
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Old November 29th, 2011, 12:10 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Nobody gave reasons against such a forum. Does an absence of dissent imply affirmation according to double negative logic, disinterest, or something else? :)
Michael,

Could you then define the new forum with it's function, inclusion rules so we can get a better idea. For my part Photography as Art should be highly selected.

Asher
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Old November 30th, 2011, 02:18 PM
Mark Hampton Mark Hampton is offline
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Mike,

I don't know of a word to cover the need you outline and would go with your neologism!

I like the idea as part of a trilogy of declensions, so to speak:

Factive would better connotate the attempts to portray subjects without alteration as in TIF, Truth in Photography. That's a simpe term, better than TIF, which sounds more pretentious. So this would be taking photographs of the city or countryside as is without cloning out telegraph poles, ugly people or graffiti. This would pretty well exclude adding clouds but might allow minor lighting changes for example.

Fictive would be the setups in fashion and story telling where one uses props and makeup artist, costumes to create a story and characters. The name suits the intention and purpose

Faictive (Your new term) "structural departures from factual representation". When your words, "a form of fakery," is added to your definition, we also think of the words forgery or fraud and so slip away from art to criminality. If just used in a gentle form, limited to "structural departures from factual representation", it might cover innocent artistic expression by merely distorting, adding, subtracting or combining images. I really like this better than "manipulation" which has an exploitative connotation.

Street photography, Photojournalism, forensic Photography would be factive. Vogue, wedding or glamor shots would be fictive, whereas photoshopped creations from factive images would be faictive. It all works well.

With seriousness and humor! I like this and would find the terms useful! :)

Asher

Fraudulent UP warzone images would still be called what it is fraud, forgery and no other word should cover that!
Asher,

the thread reads in a strange way to me for I never have thought about photography as a factive medium. Its contrivance (the manner of measuring of light and it's ultimate mitigated representation) have always pushed my view away from this idea...

the mistake of photography (historicaly for me) has lain in this route - the idea of a truth thought the simulacrum never washed for me and seems to have been used initaly to allow a craft base to dominate as a medium struggled for acceptance within a tired view of art..

fictive seems to allow the maker a freedom to make without the constraints of the so-called factive ideal. to move from the thing (the image is made from reflected light) to the thing that is the print / work in its own right - without the restraint of some poor recording of an object outside the frame to support it

in writing we learn from an early age not to trust the narrator for they have an agenda be it fact and fiction - and these are representations. why would photography be different?

the difference for me was the history - photography to be taken seriously had to try and make its self special - its uncovering of the world - shine the light of truth upon the world = yet we as makers all understand this to be rubbish -

the world or whatever is around us is not exposed by the measure we make and the model of representation we choose - all that is rendered is what we (and the companies who produce our materials) choose with our very limited view -

this is reinterpreted by the viewer and completely (or in part) reconstructed into a memory if we are lucky

opps i seem to have gone off on one !

sorry
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Old November 30th, 2011, 02:57 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Asher,

the thread reads in a strange way to me for I never have thought about photography as a factive medium. Its contrivance (the manner of measuring of light and it's ultimate mitigated representation) have always pushed my view away from this idea...

Mark,

If society used photographs as if they were pretenses, then that would all be fine. Dating online, pictures are often retouched.

Press reports from Lebanon, a terrible war, were marred by obviously constructed scenes with people "dead" in one [picture, turning up in another as volunteers "rescuing" other folk, or brand new, dust free dolls put among the debris to make one think that children playing had been blown to pieces. Not that wars are moral anyway, but we do rely on press pictures "telling the truth" that anyone there would have also seen, but maybe from a different angle or time of day. Some works such as press, documentation for insurance, crime scenes and science, urban planning and the like must be relied on as not being altered to change the facts or meaning.

Then we have "Art" where we construct pictures. This might come from our own work or solely from those in the public domain. (Anyway, is one more "valid" than the other?)

I'd like some disclosure, truth in labeling in art.

But, the artist can say, "Does it matter? It's my art, after all!"

Asher
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Old November 30th, 2011, 03:42 PM
Mark Hampton Mark Hampton is offline
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Mark,

If society used photographs as if they were pretenses, then that would all be fine. Dating online, pictures are often retouched.

Press reports from Lebanon, a terrible war, were marred by obviously constructed scenes with people "dead" in one [picture, turning up in another as volunteers "rescuing" other folk, or brand new, dust free dolls put among the debris to make one think that children playing had been blown to pieces. Not that wars are moral anyway, but we do rely on press pictures "telling the truth" that anyone there would have also seen, but maybe from a different angle or time of day. Some works such as press, documentation for insurance, crime scenes and science, urban planning and the like must be relied on as not being altered to change the facts or meaning.

Then we have "Art" where we construct pictures. This might come from our own work or solely from those in the public domain. (Anyway, is one more "valid" than the other?)

I'd like some disclosure, truth in labeling in art.

But, the artist can say, "Does it matter? It's my art, after all!"

Asher
Asher,

what people experienced can never be reported in a truthful way because what you experience is not what it is, but also what you are and what has been with all the baggage. and then what you remember (and that my friend is another kettle of fish you don’t want to open).where your eye moves and why it moves. whats in focus and why it’s in focus – this is the stuff that nightmares are made

the idea of truth is the dead end that we bring to something richer to diminish it so we can keep acting in a manner that we understand is stupid..

it is a circle of s hi t. for we can never move beyond it. lets get rid of this silly idea and look at what work says about us as possible humans. And what may have happened and more importantly what is possible when the mind is radicalised.

Just a thought.
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Old November 30th, 2011, 03:54 PM
Mark Hampton Mark Hampton is offline
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Mark,

Some works such as press, documentation for insurance, crime scenes and science, urban planning and the like must be relied on as not being altered to change the facts or meaning.


Asher
Asher - these points need addressing -

the press lie to make money - they distort photographs (which ironically is already a distortion) for there own ends

Crime scene images are in effect a shallow measure of data that always needs to be interpreted and will often be interpreted in different ways by different people/systems (even look at finger prints for this one) - not even the colour of things is true in this representation as is a representational map of colour.

Just because something may seem to look "real" doesn’t make it so - its sloppy thinking - its a mitigated representation and not the thing! We use it but we surly cant believe it?
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Old November 30th, 2011, 06:52 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Default Don't we want to believe that the presentation does not pretend to be what it isn't?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Hampton View Post
Asher - these points need addressing -

the press lie to make money - they distort photographs (which ironically is already a distortion) for there own ends

Crime scene images are in effect a shallow measure of data that always needs to be interpreted and will often be interpreted in different ways by different people/systems (even look at finger prints for this one) - not even the colour of things is true in this representation as is a representational map of colour.

Just because something may seem to look "real" doesn’t make it so - its sloppy thinking - its a mitigated representation and not the thing! We use it but we surly cant believe it?
Mark,

Yes, nuances of color might be difficult to represent, however, photography provides valuable factual information when it is thorough. Given enough pictures and flash our degree of certainty becomes very high as to what was found on the scene. All the nuanced reservations are understood in any expert field so it's relatively easy to use photographs as part of the documentation of a case.

In a road accident, a photograph can be the key to proving where that truck reached on your side of the road or that the man who says he was not there, lied.

It's in the area of so called "Art" where we entertain ourselves with reading the pictures, that the matter of true or false can be relevant to some of us but not others. In your pictures, "Reading the Reading", I have always assumed that you make the pictures and at some point decide to make the presentations you eventually share with us. There, the absolute "truth" is for me that at the least, this is all your work and that it means much to you. It's important to me and for the time I spend on that series, to feel that your words are to be "trusted". After that I can bring my own interpretations.

If I thought you were tricking or mocking us with your work, I'd feel let down. I pay attention because your work is an expression that matters and is different from something random or made with utter cynicism for us, the viewers who hope for your success. So for your photographs in the series, "Reading the Reading", I do demand some truth, but, you can, if you wish twist, bend, invert or whatever you wish to your pictures.


However, use someone else's pictures without letting me know? Is that O.K.? I have to have you ask that question. I'd trust your answer, since I trust you.

Still, I must admit, that I want to believe that the presentation does not pretend to be what it isn't. So sending a picture of a friend for your brother to meet and reshaping her features, is abhorrent to me, but removing one big zit or her cheek is not. That's because the altered face cannot be discovered on any day of the week. However, it'd likely that next week that one pimple will be gone. Most of us would hold similar standards.

Where I'm not at all sure is the area of creative work with pictures collected from elsewhere. Those that are obviously borrowed because they are classics and so immediately recognizable and therefore "disclosed", might not need an explanation. But there's one category that could be more troubling to some of us.

I would like to know whether or not using pictures from the public domain and without attribution to boot, would bother you? We already realize that the work is a fantasy, but the provenance is muddied. Does that matter to us?

Asher
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  #15  
Old December 1st, 2011, 08:35 AM
Mark Hampton Mark Hampton is offline
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Mark,

I would like to know whether or not using pictures from the public domain and without attribution to boot, would bother you?
it doesn't bother me because it not applicable to me


Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
We already realize that the work is a fantasy, but the provenance is muddied. Does that matter to us?

Asher
Asher - really what are you getting at ?
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