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Gallery > Bill Angel > Photos > Oyster Mushrooms > Oyster Mushrooms

Why this was chosen as Photograph of the Week

Critiques

Dan Michael , December 18, 2000; 05:09 P.M.

Never Again

I will never look at a mushroom the same way again. But that's what photography is all about, no?

Thanks

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Wayne C. Lee , January 07, 2001; 08:53 P.M.

I'm surprised that the scanner could do that to. Especially with capturing information in the top left and bottom right corners. There's what seems to be a slight "hot spot" in the lower center; maybe you can use a flash-diffuser of some sort to fix that --just kidding. <g>

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Geoff Howe , January 07, 2001; 10:38 P.M.

When i first saw the mushroom image without its description, I was thinking all sorts of thoughts in my head about what kind of flash technique/film/ backdrop/etc was used for the photo. Boy, did you ever pull one over my eyes. ;-) I've tried for years to do scan art, but my scanner drops off light cconsiderably if the object is barely off the surface at all. How much retouching did you need, if at all, to gain a overall pleasing exposure? Good job!

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Jim Hennessy , January 07, 2001; 11:31 P.M.

Wow a scanner?

It seems that we photographers try so hard to get these kind of results with our cameras. It just doesn't seem fair that a scanner can produce this. You know, I don't think there is a Xerox that hasn't been sat on by one of the employees. With poor results. Better keep them away from the scanners. Technology...Hmmmm

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bradford daly , January 07, 2001; 11:40 P.M.

beautiful! now do some in black and white.

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David Goldfarb , January 07, 2001; 11:52 P.M.

Nice. Just tone down that hot spot and it's perfect. Not much lighting control on a scanner (well, you could try in Photoshop), but for this image, the diffuse light is perfect.

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Donald . , January 08, 2001; 12:00 A.M.

I like it!

I have scanned quite a few 3D objects on my flat bed scanners, but only for business use.

Very fun to see the technique used to produce a beautiful image.

(text added 1/8/01) I wonder what kind of posts we would see if the "photographer" had stated that the shot was done with a Sinar 4x5, Rodenstock lens and Provia film?

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Paul Stimac , January 08, 2001; 03:07 A.M.

I dig it..

reguardless of how it was done, I really like it - even the hot spot - for me, the visual contrast it creates makes it look more interesting. If you scanned it at say 600dpi or 1200 dpi and made a nice lightjet or fuji print out of it and I saw it at a gallery, I would consider buying it.

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Michael King , January 08, 2001; 05:21 A.M.

Interesting

Thanks for sharing the idea. Would never have thought scanners had a depth of field...

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I.N. Grate , January 08, 2001; 07:31 A.M.

I think this is rubbish. Cats are way more interesting than mushrooms. See http://www.cat-scan.com/

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Mickey Trageser , January 08, 2001; 12:19 P.M.

RE: WTF

I found the image interesting. I found learning of its origin informative and useful. I did not find anything about it photographic in nature. We here celebrate the art of photography. This art is camera based, and to my mind, primarily of a film medium. Digital encroaches and is somewhat acceptable only because it still uses a device designed to capture an image composed and funneled through a lens/aperture/shutter. The camera is the primary device that establishes what photography is and isn't. Some would argue that the fact that selecting a shutter speed and aperture and focal length constitute the art, but the art of photography is the creative use and application of the eye of the photographer coupled with the capabilities and constraints of the camera. Photographic art has been made with everything from Brownies to View Cameras. But the image was composed by a photographer through either the taking lens or a viewfinder, not a flatbed scanner glass. The Oyster Mushrooms may be art, but certainly not photographic art. I encourage the establishment of 'scanner.net' to forward the cause of this new art medium, and leave photo.net to photgraphic images.

--Mickey

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David Goldfarb , January 08, 2001; 12:35 P.M.

So would we rule out photograms as "photography"? Are scanners okay if they are attached to the back of a view camera?

I see this image as similar to other photographs taken with subjects resting on glass photographed from below, or like a photogram on Cibachrome, but with reflected light rather than lighting from behind.

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Jeff Alu , January 08, 2001; 12:40 P.M.

Bill, a really cool idea, I'm surprised at the outcome. The lighting even has a certain subtleness to it, surprising for a scanner. Did you do any post processing?

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Andy Holroyd , January 08, 2001; 12:46 P.M.

what's a photo ?

Is this a photo ? Referring to photographic dictionary of defined terms.net above, I'm not so sure. If your photos have passed onto this site by way of a scanner, they are digital reproductions and as such, no longer entirely accurately reflect what was present in the image which was burned onto the film contained in your camera. So what ? This whole digital v film argument is entirely spurious, but the argument above takes it to even more ridiculous extremes. I apologize for the flame, and wouldn't normally write something like this; it is not my intention to create offence, but rather to try and work out why it's so important to worry about the medium through which the image was created, rather than its content and composition.

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Nathan T. , January 08, 2001; 02:08 P.M.

Bull Crap!

I don't claim to be a great photographer or a professional art critic. But this is the most rediculous sentence i've seen posted in a long long time...

Mikcey wrote - -

"The Oyster Mushrooms may be art, but certainly not photographic art."

Lookup Photographic in any dictionary:

1. Of, relating to, or consisting of photography or a photograph.

2. Used in photography: a photographic lens.

3. Resembling a photograph, especially representing or simulating something with great accuracy and fidelity of detail.

4. Capable of forming accurate and lasting impressions: a photographic memory.

The Shroom scan seems to represent and support the meaning's above...I'm satisfied.

I love the scan. Thanks for sharing!

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Tyler Malanowih , January 08, 2001; 05:27 P.M.

cheap

Its a good image , but its not a photograph . I would like to see you take a PHOTO of that with a real camera not a scanner . Sorry but I think it's cheating how you got that image and also "PHOTO of the week" not "image that was produced by a scanner of the week"

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Eugenio Demmenie , January 08, 2001; 05:40 P.M.

Great photograph

A great photograph.

In front of me is a book on the photographic collection of the J.P. Getty Museum. The use of the scanner reminds me of the early photographs in that book.

I like the other works in the portofolio as well.

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Yui Cheng , January 08, 2001; 06:17 P.M.

Bravo, beautiful art!

For those who refuse to recognize this image as good photography, the loss is on them. What is the essence of photography? I believe it is a truthful graphical expression of the artist through his/her images. The artist certainly acheived the goal here. A job well done. All of us needs to recognize the constant changing world and be adaptable.

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James Murray , January 08, 2001; 06:59 P.M.

Liar?

Art Schmart...
Potential Liar Alert!
Someone should well ask if you're telling a whopping lie about your scanner, perhaps you work for HP?
As for whether its art -- well it looks nice, but these days its got to change the world to qualify..
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edward rieux , January 08, 2001; 07:48 P.M.

Everything these days is digital this, digital that, digital this. Damn, where’s my freaking white out!?

I was helping a friend setup his scanner when it accidentally went off with the cover up. We were very surprised to see a blurry and dark scan of the ceiling. The next logical step was to take scans of our faces—which turned out a lot better than expected. The scanner did a great job at rendering my fine, handsome features.

Anyway, I will get to the point of this message, which is to thumb my nose at all of you who dare suggest that this isn’t a photograph. Obviously you know nothing about the word photograph, which literally means “light picture,” and perhaps more importantly, the spirit of photography. It has nothing to do with lenses, metal or plastic cases, brand-loyalty or the thousands of dollars you sink into such gadgets. If you are suggesting that the ART of photography is defined by the TOOLS and not the motivation or product then you are not an artist, or an enthusiast, or hobbyist of photography but rather a collector of toys.

This is one of the most informative photographs to come on POW for a while. If you look at it carefully, you should realize that excellent photography can come from anywhere—whatever your equipment, whatever your subject.

Photography isn’t all technical or procedural. Providence, good luck, the flexibility to try something different, and a sense of humor have as much to do with the final product as equipment...If not more.

PS, a flatbed scanner is nothing but a camera mounted on an a moving arm. I love how this photograph would have taken hours of work to setup and then hours upon hours if not days to develop and print. All the time, cost, and drudgery of setting up and breaking down equipment was absolutely unneccesary—all this photographer did was lay his mushrooms down, maybe throw a dark cloth over them, sit down in his chair and click the mouse. A little photoshoping and then a few simple steps put it online where pompous fools like me can have fun arguing about its merits. Brilliant. This, to me, is sign that photography is heading in the right direction.

PPS, a recent issue of National Geographic, in my opinion, the preiminent photography magazine, had an article about the much maligned and misunderstood mushroom. Up close you can really see that mushrooms have a wonderfully delicate and almost mathematical architecture—a fact that is plainly visible in the somewhat tussled but still quite beautiful specimins up top.

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Sanjib HC , January 08, 2001; 07:59 P.M.

Its a great picture with beautiful tonal details....but I expect to see photographs in this site, taken with a real camera. As somebody already mentioned, this picture is worthy of being posted in images.net but not photo.net

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N N , January 08, 2001; 08:00 P.M.

Good picture! The soft light brings out the texture of the mushrooms nicely, although maybe the hotspot should be toned down somewhat.

As for the "is this a photo? it's scanned!" question - obviously this image was not chosen at random. I'd hazard it was chosen to provoke some discussion. Personally, I find this a bit too obviously provocative to be interesting in that aspect. Perhaps one should ask how a photo is defined - but then again, nothing much in our daily lives, nothing much at all really, has a precise definition if you look close enough. It's not really something that bothers me.

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Peter Brown , January 08, 2001; 08:07 P.M.

It's clever, but is it Art?

In 1892 Rudyard Kipling asked; It's clever, but is it Art?

maybe we should be asking; It's clever, but is it Photography?

I love the concept - love the image. Nicely done.

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Matthew Hunt , January 08, 2001; 08:40 P.M.

What belongs on photo.net?

So, why isn't it photographic?

Because it's a digital process? We've seen plenty of those before.

Because it doesn't involve a lens? Neither does pinhole photography.

Because the detector moves across the image? So does a scanning back for a view camera. And if you use a focal plane shutter at high speed, the image moves across the film in much the same way.

Because there's no image-forming optic, not even a pinhole? Man Ray laid stuff atop photographic materials. He's in my photography books.

What's the problem? The history of photography is replete with alternative forms of image-making. It seems to me that everything that could make this image "not photography" has been done by photographers years ago.

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Douglas Elick , January 08, 2001; 09:10 P.M.

Not Photography?!?!

Impressive image, I like it very much. It makes something as ordinary as a mushroom attractive and appealing; this is what photography is all about!

As a photograph, I have to say that I believe the hot spot is a bit too distracting and I wished the image was framed better. Aside from these issues, I think this is a quite striking image. As reproduced by my monitor, I think this image posesses a rich tonal range that many "traditional" photos here on photo.net lack.

I find it simply astounding that this image was recorded with a flatbed scanner; I would never have guessed. Extra praise should be awarded for the above average creativity displayed by Mr. Angel; isn't this what great photography is all about?

I cannot believe some of the painfully myopic statements people have posted to this forum. There's always a few of you out there who make it impossible for me to go an entire week without posting a rant. What will it take to finally drum into your thick skulls that photography at it's very essence, has nothing at all to do with equipment? The single most important photographic tool anyone could ever own is carefully situated between their ears; no gadget, no matter how expensive, can ever replace it.

In makes no matter what tool was used in the capturing and production of a photograph; weather it be a Leica, a Kodak Brownie, a Nikon F4, a view camera, a D1, an oatmeal box, or a flatbed scanner, the only thing that matters is the end result and how it relates to it's creator's vision.

Is a contact print not a photograph because no enlarger was used? Is a photogram not photography because no camera was used? Is an image recorded with a pinhole camera not a photograph because no lens was used? Are X-ray images not photography because no light was used? Step out of the box people! At best, those of you who do nothing but follow the accepted rules will produce nothing more than technically perfect, utterly boring images.

I find this week's photo very pleasing and so would most of you if the artist did not disclose how it was produced.

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Isaac Torres , January 08, 2001; 09:15 P.M.

Ridiculous

I still cannot understand what all the fuzz is about. This is photo.net not photomadewithfilm.net

If this is not a photograph, then no photo made with a Nikon D1 is a photograph. I think it's beautiful, and a job well done. Bravo!

P.S. I agree with the guy that said that about the pinhole cameras. Aren't those photos?

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James . , January 09, 2001; 03:13 A.M.

Jaded Cynics!!!

I agree with Mr. Rieux's previous comments, his argument was unbiased and refreshing, unlike the sourpuss detractors of the mushroom picture. As Einstein would say,

"Creativity is more important than knowledge."

I think constructive criticism is great, i.e. sharing helpful viewpoints, but beating up on the recent various POW's is a sure sign of frustrated "photographers".

I for one liked it, period.

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David P. Gavin , January 09, 2001; 10:01 A.M.

What it is!

It seems we are getting back on point. The merits of the image. We've been arguing the whole "what is a photo" with intellectual gymnastics for so long now, and the cows have all gone home folks.

And I agree with Jim Allen— "constructive criticism is great, i.e. sharing helpful viewpoints, but beating up on the recent various POW's is a sure sign of frustrated "photographers."

I was one, if not the first, to slam last weeks POW. After watching the debacle that followed, I wished I'd never said it. I take it back!

Let's get back to the whole concept. Critique the photos. I love the image.

Bill Allen, I applaud your creativity. -Dave

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Andre Kuellenberg , January 09, 2001; 10:15 A.M.

Nice picture...

...but i wonder if you've mounted your scanner on a tripod.

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David P. Gavin , January 09, 2001; 10:21 A.M.

Addendum To the above

By the way, I showed this image to my brother, a "Long time" nature photographer. He was amazed, possessing a similar HP scanner. His first reaction was - "Wow, how did he do that!"

If he can keep such an open mind, why can't the rest of us. -Dave

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hari dobri , January 09, 2001; 01:02 P.M.

hmmmmm

Good example of what scaner can do, but when I first saw the photo I thought "this is done with PS camera". I want to say good scan work and bad photo. And this is photo.net not scan.net...

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Jeff Spirer , January 09, 2001; 02:44 P.M.

From a distance, it looks like something from a Cronenberg movie. Which is pretty cool.

And this is photo.net, not camera.net.

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Michael Brown , January 09, 2001; 06:05 P.M.

Well done Bill. BTW for everyone who commented that a scanner does not have a lens, when was the last time you looked into the top of a scanner? They most certainly do have a lens.

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James Hughes , January 09, 2001; 10:19 P.M.

WOW

I'll try to scan my mother-in-law,because she does not like to take pictures.

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Alexander Quel , January 10, 2001; 03:00 A.M.

Sheesh

Well.... I was intrigued, surprised, and I learned something.

Now I'll be looking at my scanner in a whole new light

thank you

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ravi pankhania , January 10, 2001; 03:30 A.M.

yeehaaa for scanners

This may come as a surprise but i decided to invest in an agfa scanner instead of a new camera. Now whenever I want to take an pictures I haul out the scanner, an electrical cord and a couple of lights...PRESTO, digital camera made easy. I have yet to acheive these kinds of results however, back to the drawing board.

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Yasir Khokhar , January 10, 2001; 08:54 A.M.

Purists?

IMHO, how many of the people seeing this image would have guessed it was a scanned image had the artist/photographer not told us in all his honesty about the image? Having said that i feel this elicits a debate on a higher level.

I am an advanced amature photographer as well as a web designer. I have at countless occassions modified photographs, cut and pasted elements and touched up my photographs. Whenever i modify images I slot it under 'art' or 'creative design', but not under photography which ends at what the lab gives me back on film paper.

About this image? Its a very sharp and intruiging image, but not a photograph. As POW, i cannot discuss the photographic elements such as equipment, technique or shutter settings e.t.c. Digital images such as these have their plcae in the world of eye candy but not in photographic journals or web sites.

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Michael B , January 10, 2001; 11:04 A.M.

title changed to: my 2 cents

I looked in online versions of Cambridge Dictionary of American English, Merriam-Webster's WWWebster Dictionary and The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language.

Cambridge and American Heritage dictionaries define a photograph as being produced by a camera. Merriam-Webster's definition of photograph is:

"a picture or likeness obtained by photography".

To understand this definition, one must know their definition for photography:

"the art or process of producing images on a sensitized surface (as a film) by the action of radiant energy and especially light".

Also:

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language's definition of photography:

"NOUN : 1. The art or process of producing images of objects on photosensitive surfaces. 2. The art, practice, or occupation of taking and printing photographs. 3. A body of photographs. "

Personally, I don't like the way Merriam-Webster uses photography to define photograph. It should be the other way around. And yet their "more loose" defintion of photography satisfies me much more than the definitions that require a camera. "Photo" basically means "light", and "graph" means "physical record".

Art should be subjected to rules and regulations only on a limited basis. This is definitely not a situation worth getting upset about. Let's have a little freedom here.

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Narayan Natarajan , January 10, 2001; 11:15 A.M.

Future

The following are some of the thoughts that went through my head while reading this page. I didn't number these in any particular order.. just the way they popped into my head.

1. I almost wonder if the photo.net people put this up just to create such a controversy.

2. Few years ago, digital wasn't acceptable to purists. Then again 20 years ago probably automatic cameras weren't either.

3. From what I have experienced thus far, photography to me is like poetry. Everyone knows the words, but can everyone arrange them in the way, say Shakespear did? Similarly, it is the uniqueness of perspective that we admire in photography.

4. In the future, what if there are other ways to take pictures. May be holography? May be there are films designed for the same lattitude viewing as our retina? Or devices that have photoshop type of softwares built in to render different versions as we take pictures?

5. It seems there is an olympus digital camera that fires off 5 shots when you hold the shutter halfway down. So if you are about to take an action picture you can actually have the choice of 6 shots for each time you clicked. Is that cheating?

6. I kinda do agree with some of the "anti" posts, in the sense that yes its very creative, but its not today's mainstream photography. I do expect to learn more from others with cameras rather than scanners. Yes it could appear on the front page of photo.net, but no, not as "photograph" of the week. But this discussion is as diverse and almost as unending as one with the question "is there god?".

I say today's mainstream because like I mentioned before, digital would have had the same reaction a few years ago in similar circumstances.

.. just some of my thoughts.. still amazed that a fungus can cause this magnitude of a ruckus.. lol

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Bob . , January 10, 2001; 01:15 P.M.

To scan or not to scan that is the question...

5 minutes in the making...

At a local camera club competition when the judge was faced with a photo that looked like it had been simply scanned in he said:

"This isn't a photograph, atleast that's what I've been told".

Sorry, but I have to agree with the others who state that a scanner is just another means of capturing an image. Isn't photography about capturing images...?

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Jeff Spirer , January 10, 2001; 01:24 P.M.

I do expect to learn more from others with cameras rather than scanners.

There's a reason why they hang images on the wall in galleries, museums, coffee shops...

You will learn far more from people for what they create rather than what they own.

But since this attitude is so prevalent, maybe there should be a gallery of cameras somewhere. Might be able to learn something from looking at pics of cameras.

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Tyler Malanowih , January 10, 2001; 05:56 P.M.

harsh

I agree with jeff and isnt photography suposed to be about expressing yourself or just for the plain fun of setting your camera and taking an image not just so you can have a cool looking image of a mushroom? I dont claim it to be a photograph , just an image your scanner developed and I dont think you should be taking credit for this cool image , it was your scanner . I could never use a scanner to get an image i would use my camera and see how good I could make the mushroom look by setting shutter , aperture ect

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M F , January 10, 2001; 06:32 P.M.

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Samuel Dilworth , January 10, 2001; 07:44 P.M.

"I wish I were like you, easily amused..."

Donald C., we would be seeing posts like this:

Major light falloff is evident; depth of field is not sufficient to cover subject fully; subject is mutilated beyond tolerable limits, highlights are blown out yet shadow detail is lacking in darker areas, colours are iffy at best (although beautiful), composition is... well, I think the composition just sort of happened when the unfortunate mushrooms were flung against the cold, cruel glass (this sort of image will inspire RSPCA members to campaign for plant rights as well); the resulting scan (remember, where talking tranny scans here) is of poor quality and someone forgot to clean the flatbed before placing the film; noise (or grain) is pretty drastic and not (in my mind) desirable, etc. etc.

On the other hand, many people would no doubt try to establish meaning in the image of a once-exquisite object, its subtle beauty now crushed into abject despair at the vastness of the big (black in this case) world around it...

For all that, the image has a certain mystique about it, which I do like in spite of myself...

I must object to Douglas Elick’s statement of , "I find this week's photo very pleasing and so would most of you if the artist did not disclose how it was produced." Don’t you think we might just guess? I’m sure the majority of Photonetters have seen a scanned image of a 3D object before, and the characteristics are rather unforgettable.

The line between photography and other artistic disciplines has to be drawn somewhere. For example, if you don’t need a lens, film, camera, etc. to create a photograph (which I agree with), then can a painting be called a photograph? Your eyes (or creative section of your brain, perhaps) sensed the light, you painted an image with your hand (or mouth or foot) on a surface of canvas. The painting process is as much like using camera and film as using a flatbed scanner. I’m not going to say this image isn’t a photograph, but it doesn’t teach anyone anything about the teachable aspects of photography (technique -- here I disagree with Jeff Spirer who appears to believe that almost anyone can learn to make a good photo if given enough inspiration). It does raise interesting questions and discussions (which may, in a roundabout way, get us all to learn something, even if not actually relevant to photography), and I’m beginning to see that the Photonet elves (who are definitely on something more potent than harmless ‘shrooms, Jenny) don’t actually obey their own rules about POW selection at all -- rather, they look for a controversial image that gets people like myself all het up about... about?... well, nothing in the end. This image is a graphical version of Shakespeare’s whispered "sweet nothings".

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Antonio Quinones , January 10, 2001; 07:44 P.M.

Kudos to Bill Angel

Art only "works" when it stimulates conversation and thought. Kudos to Bill Angel for this photograph. It works.

Antonio

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Mickey Trageser , January 11, 2001; 12:53 A.M.

RE: WTF Again....

My, we certainly got stirred up over this one! Congratulations, people! You've expressed deep held beliefs about what you consider art. Now, lets remember that art comes in many media. Sculpting, painting, drawing, architecture, and photography to name a few. Graphic designs by pen or mouse pad can be art as well. Each of these media have tools of the trade. For me, (and I know this isn't shared by all) the tool of the photographic trade is the camera, and what makes it important is the photographic artist's coupling with the tool to capture an image he saw in his mind based on the view he composed in the viewfinder. As I said before, this doesn't rule out digital photography, since it uses a camera (some of which are quite impressive in their creative control).

Now, I would never deny that the mushroom image could be art. In fact, I had no negative comments about the image itself. I was impressed by it, and recognized the even lighting and cool tones as that of a scanned object. I've made good practical use of this process of scanning objects myself. It's handy and effective. Today the scanner can be a tool of the graphic artist. But what I liked, was an earlier comment (apologies for not catching the name for credit) that while a painter envisions an image and records it with pigmented oils, it's a very long stretch to call it photography. I think it's an equaly long stretch to call the scanning art, photography.

Oh, and by the way, the pinhole camera does have a lens, though not of glass. The aperture is indeed the lens that consolidates the light image and focuses it on the filmplane.

And one more 'btw'- if anyone took my earlier posting as being mean spirited or in any way disparaging to the image or its creator, it definitely was not intended that way. Go out and be creative! -Mickey

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Matthew Hunt , January 11, 2001; 01:41 A.M.

Pinhole is not a lens

A pinhole is not a lens by any definition I can find in a dictionary (including the OED) or a physics text. It does not focus the light onto the film plane; that's why you do not need to focus a pinhole camera!

I do not understand why people are in such a hurry to exclude this art from the category of "recording light" (that is, "photography"). Balkanizing the field into "Film photography with lens," "film photography with pinhole," "photogram with film," "photogram with scanner," "digital photography with lens," and so forth seems absurd to me. I have more interest in some of these things than others, but, man, people have been doing weird things with photographic materials for so long that I'd think people could accept it by now!

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Lila Carmichael , January 11, 2001; 09:53 A.M.

Delightful

As a person who enjoys looking at photos more than taking photos, I found this image to be very pleasing. Who would have guessed that a mushroom could be so attractive? I'm inspired to try using my scanner on various objects to see what I can come up with, too. Very nice!

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PJ Taylor , January 11, 2001; 01:07 P.M.

I love the controversy

This reminds me of Igor Stravinsky's 1913 debut of the experimental piece "The Right of Spring" where the Old-school-of-thought (closed-minded) argued with the New-school-of-thought (open-minded) and they eventually began physically fighting each other during the concert. Bravo Igor!, oops I mean Bill! :)

I think you're onto something here. It's sort of like a pinhole camera -- no depth of field issue.

This is as much a photo as any other digital scanner or camera could do. Whether or not digital can be applied to photography is still up for debate.

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Dave Mueller , January 11, 2001; 03:38 P.M.

It's photo.net, not art.net

From the opening photo.net screen:"photo.net is an online learning community of people improving their photography expertise."

I think this image is art, but not "photography". To me, at least one of the following should be used to create a "photo": 1)a lens to focus the image 2)at least one stage of a wet (or close to wet) chemical process.

This allows digital cameras (they have lenses) but excludes images created with only a scanner, and also allows things like pinhole cameras and photograms.

It's a good image, but didn't help my photography skills.

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Jeff Spirer , January 11, 2001; 04:29 P.M.

This reminds me of Igor Stravinsky's 1913 debut of the experimental piece "The Right of Spring" where the Old-school-of-thought (closed-minded) argued with the New-school-of-thought (open-minded) and they eventually began physically fighting each other during the concert.

Hah! I was at Bob Dylan's first big electric concert (Forest Hills Stadium, late 60s) and there were fistfights in the stands between pro-electric and pro-folk people. It was insane! Note that the "new" inevitably wins, at least as measured by the acceptance of Stravinsky and Dylan.

The definition above is in no book anywhere. It seems to be popular on the web to invent one's own definitions. Note that a digital pinhole camera would not be able to take photographs by the invented definion.

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Scott Blair , January 11, 2001; 05:41 P.M.

Inspirational and educational

Whether or not this scan is "photography" is irrelevant. Is it inspirational and educational? This is a pleasing image to many people. In fact, it has nearly reached eye-candy status. Therefore, the inspiration is: try to do this with a "conventional" camera. The education is: now you know what kind of image works for most viewers. So what's the problem?

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Patanjali Parimi , January 11, 2001; 08:30 P.M.

SCANOGRAPHY!!!!!?

I like the picture. The idea of using a scanner to capture a 3D object is interesting. Why don't we call this a scanograph instead of photograph?

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Samuel Dilworth , January 11, 2001; 08:52 P.M.

'Cause "scan" is six letters shorter?

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Justin Stodola , January 11, 2001; 08:57 P.M.

A Scanner IS a Camera

Dave Mueller:
By your definitions a scanner is as eligable as a digital camera; it is a digital camera. Scanners use lenses and essentially creates a photo-mosaic of a very large number of pictures(each with a very narrow field of view). This results in an essentially orthographic picture(the ultimate compression of perspective) -- something you'd be hard pressed to achieve with a conventional camera in anywhere near the space used by a scanner(it could be approximated with a long lens).

How Scanners Work(note the illustration partway through; proves that a scanner is a moving digital camera reducing this argument to the digital/chemical one)

In short, interesting camera technique. Good work, Bill.

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Matthew Hunt , January 11, 2001; 09:21 P.M.

Justin: That reminds me of something. I was taking a photography class and a talented participant brought in a piece that was a 35mm contact sheet (6 strips of 6). The contact sheet formed an image of a wall of a room; that is, each of the 36 exposures was a close-up of part of the wall, and the array of them showed the whole wall. I thought that was pretty clever, and is sort of like what the scanner does.

(Nobody denounced it as not-photography, by the way.)

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Anton Galli , January 11, 2001; 11:59 P.M.

What a funghi

At last something that I do know something about; mycology . . . Oyster mushrooms, and boy do they look yummy. Most people don't know just how delicious these babies are. Make a great omelette. (I case you care they do not taste like oysters as their misleading name suggests). Having found a few in the wild (and even some in Central Park, which I did not sample) and taken them home for dinner I can attest to that. Other tasty 'shrooms that are common are bluetts and the prized morels. (I have a picture somewhere of me with a hoard of 100 morels found in my secret spot - they only come out in the first week of May).

These oysters are unusual in the length and width of the stalk . . . at least the ones I remember had a smaller stalk compared to the cap. Are they possibly store bought?

Well from a photographers perspective mushrooms are a great subject for macro photography. There are so many colorful and wonderfully shaped subjects, but you must know the right time of year to search for them. They are not easy to photograph either as they are often in dark woodlands and low to the ground. Of course, uprooted as these are, then just toss 'em on a scanner and there you go (who knew?).

I am wondering now if the scanner has distorted the perspective of the mushrooms? Well the depth of field of the scanner surprises me none the less. You can really see those gills (dust that scanner for spores when finished). I dont think that I'll be throwing away my camera anytime soon, just the same.

A scanner obviously has a limitted future as a photographic device, or so one would think. I have yet to see some tourist with an HP around his neck. But now I appreciate those $2000 scanners more than before, although the $60 versions seem to do pretty well. It seems sadly inevitable, and I am not a luddite, but I will rue the day that digital takes over photography as it has taken over audio technology.

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Jeff Spirer , January 12, 2001; 12:52 A.M.

A scanner obviously has a limitted future as a photographic device, or so one would think. I have yet to see some tourist with an HP around his neck.

This is also true of pinhole cameras and 8x10 view cameras. I mean, so what?

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John Pelesko , January 12, 2001; 02:20 P.M.

Beautiful!

Thanks for the Oyster Mushrooms "photo"! I was amazed to learn it came from a scanner, and intrigued by the novelty of the idea... Any tool that helps you produce a beautiful image...

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Paul Ashton , January 12, 2001; 02:29 P.M.

Beautiful image, hilarious discussion. I think I'll stick a mushroom inside my LS-2000.

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bruce wong , January 12, 2001; 07:48 P.M.

Aesthetics 5, Originality 5

oysters are good with sex. and vice versa. but not at the same time. sex with oysters should be avoided. it's already illegal in several states.

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Matthew Hunt , January 12, 2001; 08:43 P.M.

Shrooms in the LS-2000

Paul: Be careful putting 'shrooms in a film scanner. Everything I've read says it's bad to have fungus on your lens.

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Purple Amazon , January 12, 2001; 11:44 P.M.

Aesthetics 2, Originality 4

Interesting, but not particularly pleasing

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Pete Landry , January 13, 2001; 10:31 A.M.

too much controversy...

too all those of you who say a scan is not photography...I'd would have liked to have seen what your comments would have been if you did not know the PHOTO was made with a scanner...no matter what method was used, the end result is still a PHOTOGRAH...congratulations on not being afraid to try "non-traditional" methods of creating photographs.

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Douglas Elick , January 13, 2001; 04:46 P.M.

Asthetic principal

Mr. Angel should feel very proud of his *photograph*; look at the debate it inspired.

I feel I must submit my counterpoint to some of the posts that were directed towards my previous submission.

Mr. Dilworth said:

"The line between photography and other artistic disciplines has to be drawn somewhere. For example, if you don’t need a lens, film, camera, etc. to create a photograph (which I agree with), then can a painting be called a photograph? Your eyes (or creative section of your brain, perhaps) sensed the light, you painted an image with your hand (or mouth or foot) on a surface of canvas. The painting process is as much like using camera and film as using a flatbed scanner."

I must respectfully (and vehemently) disagree; there is a quite distinct difference between a painting and a scan. A photograph is essentially an image created by focusing light onto a light sensitive medium. Whereas a painting in created by the indirect process of the artist seeing his subject, interpreting it in his mind and rendering it with hand and brush, photography is a direct reflection of reality. Of course with photography, one can manipulate an image, but by nature, photography always starts with a subject that exists in the physical world; I cannot take a photo of something that exists only in my mind. By this benchmark, the image Mr. Angel produced is as much of a photograph as any other on Photo.Net; an image was projected (by the lens in the scanner) onto a light sensetive medium (the ccd). I liken the scanning process a flatbed scanner uses to the way a panoramic camera does it's magic; they both scan across a subject an "reconstruct" the image on a light sensetive medium (physical film or a ccd and computer to render the image).

In the final analysis, weather this week's POW is a true photo or not is a moot point. Only the final product and it's aethetic qualites are of any great import. Do not make the mistake of placing the significance of the process above the end result; at best, the word "photography" only very loosely describes a process. How we use that process, mold, twist and perfect that process is part of the learning process.

Dialogue about the photographic process is only of any value as it relates to production of an image that fulfills the would-be artist's vision. I think that for many of us, there is a love of the old chemical method and any deviance from that frightens us and causes us to unfairly discount anyone and/or their work who do not follow it. I love "old school" photography and will cling to my chemicals and silver halide emulsions 'till the bitter end, but I will not and cannot believe that my fondness of a process will stop the march of time or should invalidate anyone's desire to do things a different way.

I also cannot presume to be so arrogant as to put forth so much effort in an attempt to deconstruct the meaning an artist places on their work with phrases like, "I think the composition just sort of happened when the unfortunate mushrooms were flung against the cold, cruel glass"; I would much rather ask them.

Rather than argue points of personal preference such as, "depth of field is not sufficient to cover subject fully; subject is mutilated beyond tolerable limits, highlights are blown out yet shadow detail is lacking in darker areas, colours are iffy at best" and to presume I know what the photographer's intent was, I prefer to rate photographs on more general merits such as composition, tonality and technical exellence. Who am I to presume the said photo isn't exactly as it's creator intended?

I've noticed that very few of those who render judgement on their fellow Photo.Net members photographs have any work of their own on line. Perhaps having at least one photo available for rating should be a prerequisite for judging other's work? I have much more respect for those who "hang it all out" and can endure the scathing remarks that are sure to follow from the residents of Photo.Net's ivory towers. If you can endure the firey blast of specious comments about specks of dust and why flatbed scans are pure blasphemy from the thesaurus toting, self appointed aristocracy who hold themselves in such high esteem that the air they breath is rarefied to the point their brain suffers from oxygen starvation, you have garnered the respect and admiration from the rest of us who understand that photography is a learning process that never ends.

D.M. Elick

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Jeff Spirer , January 13, 2001; 10:29 P.M.

I've noticed that very few of those who render judgement on their fellow Photo.Net members photographs have any work of their own on line. Perhaps having at least one photo available for rating should be a prerequisite for judging other's work?

I've disagreed with this before and I'll disagree with it again. Some good photographers are terrible critics. Some good critics are terrible photographers. It's two totally different skill sets that only cross on some technical fine points. Some people are skilled at both, and some aren't.

On the other hand, I find it amazing that people will take technical/technique from people who show no work. This is when you should make sure that the people giving advice know what they're doing.

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Norman Roberts , January 14, 2001; 12:37 A.M.

Cutting Edge

Is this photography? No it is not. Is this art? Absolutely! This image all by itself summarizes what is creativity. That is, new, yet built on what has already been done; controversial; it's done well; and it's been done by relatively few people. Look for this sort of thing in a major museum soon I would guess.

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Pablo Silber , January 14, 2001; 06:22 A.M.

Photo=light-graph=record,drawing

I think that's all I wanted to say.

As for the mushroom, I like it. Nice tones, good texture, not really fond on the composition myself but I enjoyed it. Photo, no photo, scannography, who bloody cares. If you are so worried about that then you missed the point about photography my friend. Cheers, Pablo.-

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Yui Cheng , January 15, 2001; 12:11 A.M.

Tyler Malanowih, be a gentleman

Sir, when the majority members of this board do not share your point of view, please maintain your poise. Don't loose your cool by using the four letter word like the one you just did.

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Melanie Boucher , January 25, 2001; 05:29 P.M.

Beautiful things

I love those mushrooms. They look like an angel wing. I really don't care that they're not from a camera. I searched the net for web sites where I can see beautiful things. It's beautiful and that's all I want to know.

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Michael Rogan , January 29, 2001; 12:15 A.M.

Tools Of The Trade

As valid as any! The image was captured on a medium that has been accepted as a valid form of the art. Digital photography has been accepted. One could almost add that any image that is created by any form or use of light is a real form of photography. Improvization is what moves the forms forward.

Regarding the scanner: It is a digital tool. Instead of taking the tool to the subject, the subject has been brought to the tool.

I don't see the conflict. An image has been created that has evoked imagination, discussion and beauty. Good on you and great image.

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Michael Cahill , February 17, 2001; 06:43 P.M.

You're killing me...

what do we have here photographers/imaging artists or a crew of former English majors dabbling with the semantics of "photograph". If we haven't broadened our definition of "photography" then I have to submit that any image that was digitized and opened up in Photoshop can't be a photograph at all. What crap! This is a great image and a very creative use of an imaging device. Those who disagree because of techinique alone have spent a bit too much time in the darkroom sniffing those lovely environmentally friendly chemicals.

Get with the damn program you bloody Luddites.....

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s. polke , February 19, 2001; 06:10 A.M.

it is a photo

<i>For example, if you don’t need a lens, film, camera, etc. to create a photograph (which I agree with), then can a painting be called a photograph?</i><p>By my definition, a painting uses paint...whether that's Schminke Oils spread on belgian linen, krylon sprayed on a brick wall or crushed berries daubed on the wall of a cave. I think a "photograph" requires that the image be made by the action of light rather than by a brush as suggested by the name "photograph(loosely translates to "lightdrawing")."<p>I think this image (and its making) have added tremendously to the quality of discussion. thank you

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Samuel Dilworth , February 24, 2001; 08:39 P.M.

I normally hate cheesy comparisons of photography to other arts or disciplines, but in this case I thought it was valid.

By my definition, a painting uses paint... ...I think a "photograph" requires that the image be made by the action of light rather than by a brush as suggested by the name "photograph(loosely translates to "lightdrawing")."

But if a photograph requires the image to be made by the action of light, then no inkjet prints are photographs. Saying a painting needs paint is as narrow-minded as saying a photograph needs FB paper. The essence of a painting is no more in the painting itself than a photograph’s essence is in it’s representation on paper. At the end of the day, the painting we see is on the same level as the inkjet printout from an Epson -- the recording of light (at the film or CCD level) is comparable to the painter’s formulation of the image in his or her mind.

Anyway, whether this is or is not a photograph is pretty irrelevant -- it simply isn’t good enough to be POW, regardless of how it was made. If similar composition and subject matter had been used to make a conventional photograph this image would not have even been considered for POW. But the elves no doubt wanted to encourage passionate discussion -- I just wish they would own up to that and update their description of a POW ("a fine example of a good composition", etc.). A POW would not have to be outstandingly brilliant to be valid if it was not defined as such. It could be just a photograph chosen that week to generate discussion.

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Emmanouil Skoufos , March 01, 2001; 02:05 P.M.

Drawing the line

Is there a need to draw a line on "what is a photograph?". Some of us really think that photography and auto-focus lenses on cameras are not synonymous; should we draw the line there and disqualify for photography most of the images here? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the means are less important than the result. Just my 2c

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scott tan , March 02, 2001; 11:53 P.M.

WoW

Wow what a pic huh!! Hey really enjoy it. What need to improve are the people viewing it. It is a beautifull photo and it is a photo regardless the tech aspect of it. A good photograph bring us to the momment the subject is capture, this photo certainly did it job!! Again great photo

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Len Marriott , March 25, 2001; 09:57 P.M.

Mushrooms

Good Lord! First I find out you don't need film to take photographs & now I find out I don't even need a camera. What next.........no computers? Nice image & imagination! It's been said that the image is made first in one's head & you've just proved it. Well done. LM

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Andy Graham , April 20, 2001; 01:02 A.M.

if a scanned image is not photography,not one of us has posted a photograph in here.....

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Chris Whaley , May 04, 2001; 02:45 A.M.

man that is cool....i cant wait to try that.

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Jonathon Shaw , July 27, 2001; 09:44 P.M.

Good Asymmetry

The narrower, but more well lit lower right of the picture leading to the larger mass, but not as bright upper left, as well as the wonderful light fall off give this picture wonderful asymmetry. However, (perhaps because of the size of the "print", not the photographers fault) I couldn't tell what the subject was without the caption.

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Acer Iddibhai , July 30, 2001; 03:56 A.M.

bill very nice (all the good stuff has already been said...). you should've not disclosed ANY details till ppl started raving about it, even then if i was in your shoes i would have to think twice. the "sinar/prov/rodenstock" line was a hoot!!!

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Jennifer MacNeil , September 04, 2001; 12:13 P.M.

when i first saw the image it ways from a distance. it looked exactly like a withering rose. a second look close up and bigger gave me quite a shock. it's gorgeous, and with a shock value like that, it's no wonder it's getting a lot of good feedback. (disregarding all this it's not a photo crap)

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Another Bob , September 29, 2001; 03:26 A.M.

Great snap

I enjoyed this picture, very ingenious. I'm surprised by the image's depth of field - presumably the lens has a tiny aperture.

Very nicely done.

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Juergen Kollmorgen , December 22, 2001; 09:20 P.M.

This is a very well composed image. Congratulations ! I have been experimenting myself with scanning objects. Your photo of oyster mushrooms inspired me to make another scanned composition with mushrooms myself. Thanks for sharing.

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Paul Ensom , April 16, 2003; 05:43 P.M.

Dude, this is great. Let's hear it for creativity.

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yvonne smith , April 16, 2003; 08:21 P.M.

i really like this picture - everything from the texture through to the 3 dimensional quality. i think it is very well done and has a lot of feeling - am surprised it was done on a scanner and i initially missed that part in the description. However, no matter how it was produced it is the feeling it conveys is probably the most important

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Morgan Brackett , October 09, 2009; 03:47 A.M.

i am in looove with this photograph, i find it extraordinarly beautiful and elegant. it is art within art. never before had i noticed how lovely the curled and tattered the lip of the cap is...its almost art noveau to me. i also completely agree with Edward Rieux in his assessment of why he feels this to be photographic art. a scanner is in essence a camera!

i do not mind the hotspot whatsoever, it even adds a wonderful feeling of luminescence which is magical and lends itself to seeming submerged under water.

ive added this to my favorites :)

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David Adams , November 06, 2009; 06:55 P.M.

Crushed

I have nothing against using scanners as a imaging medium. I fact, I use them myself for imaging certain plant material. However, the user must realize that scanners by design are meant to focus narrowly, i.e., they have a very narrow DOF. Plant material, fungi included, must to some extent be principally in focus without damage. In my opinion this mushroom image is badly conceived as noted in the damaged gills and cracked caps. It should be obvious to even the most casual observer that the illustration object has been flattened, prior to or presently, onto the imaging plate creating the observed damage. In summary, scanners are very adept at making scans of other than what they were designed for. Therefore, it is up to the "scannerer" to choose appropriate subject matter.

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Ann Dream , December 29, 2009; 01:30 P.M.

comment

Like this a lot ! See my pics

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