The revival of an old project and an ethical question

in Black And White2 months ago


I've been flirting with the idea of pet photography for many years but I never got into this with consistency. One of my last projects before I close my studio, more than ten years ago, was an experimentation on this very topic. My life though took a different turn shortly after and I quit, not only the project but photography altogether. And although I never became a pet photographer, I am very grateful for all the beautiful pictures of my dog that I have, now that he is no longer with us. I have shown you some of those pictures a couple of months ago in this post as I do every year on the date he left us.

But all that was in the past. Now that I pick up the thread of my photographic journey once more, I remembered the old project and took a few shots of the very black and very much alive successor of my original model!

Apart from the change of model, there is one more small difference, I don't really have a photographic studio anymore :)

There is a space that I share with @traisto and her loom but it is pretty much full with all the crafting activities that we have there. But Marcos (the dog) is very cooperative and we managed to take a few shots next to the door. You can even see the entrance stairs in the picture below!

I am pretty happy with that attempt, especially the first picture. It's hard to tell that it wasn't taken in a proper studio. But then again faking a studio is quite easy for me, as long as I have a bright window and a background. Getting outdoors was more tricky. A lot more parameters to control and a lot more things that could go wrong. The light might be too flat, the background might be too bright, the dog gets easily distracted etc etc. But if everything goes well, you could end up with much more interesting pictures than indoors.

The following picks are from the walk I told you about yesterday, where I ended up shooting more cats than Marcos himself. The results are far from perfect but after the editing, quite descent.


Editing in black and white wasn't something I had in mind from the beginning but after a lot (and I mean A LOT) of versions, I tried this edit at the first picture and I loved it. And then I reedited all the others in the same style resulting to a monochrome post and my entry for the #monomad challenge!

But for the last two I think I prefer the colour version instead.

Before I go, there is something more I want to share with fellow photographers.

Let me first say that I am not a big fun of AI. I am old fashioned and usually sceptical about innovations, especially when I think poorly of the corporations introducing them. Nevertheless I use the adobe products and apparently they decided to bring AI in their users life, from the back door.

Screenshot 2024-02-24 at 9.47.15 PM.png

I am referring of course to the new tools in Photoshop like denoise, generative fill and lens blur. All three are doing, in a more easy and more efficient way, things that could be done with older tools too. Yet I used all three of them in the pictures of this post. To reduce noice to the ones that were taken with very high iso, to blur a background that was a bit distracting or to remove the leash and expand the background. I am including a few screenshots from the Lightroom with the original picture and the final version.

Screenshot 2024-02-24 at 9.51.43 PM.png

And this question popped up in my mind:

Is using AI powered tools in photoshop ethical?

Google answered that:

While most ethical questions surrounding the use of AI in photography centre around the creation of entire images, most of the AI-powered tools available in the best photo editing software are pretty much benign when it comes to the question of ethics and authenticity.

And Adobe this:

By taking a thoughtful and comprehensive approach to AI ethics, Adobe is committed to ensuring this technology is developed responsibly and respects our customers and our communities.

Screenshot 2024-02-24 at 9.48.36 PM.png

In those pictures, I don't think that I exceeded any ethical line but I wonder, as those tools are getting more and more efficient and as many more will undoubtedly come, won't be a point that the creative process of editing would be undermined by the tools themselves, at the expense of the human creators?

I would love to hear your thoughts on that in the comments!

The camera that I used is a Canon EOS 6D mark II with an EF 100mm f2.8L macro lens attached.

All the pictures and the words are mine.

Thank you for reading and if you want to know more about me you can check out my introduction post.

Commenting, upvoting and rebloging are highly appreciated!


Όπως ο Μάρκος είναι μαύρος οι ασπρόμαυρες φωτογραφίες του πάνε τέλεια 👌🏻, μου αρέσει πολύ αυτή 👇🏻


Να σου πώ την αλήθεια, δεν βλέπω σχεδόν διαφορά ανάμεσα στις φωτογραφίες που λες ότι πέρασες από το Adobe 😂😂 🤔

Η @traisto έχει έναν αργαλειό; 😲 Το χρησιμοποιεί η μόνο το έχει έτσι στο σπίτι;

Σ'ευχαριστώ, ναι του πάει πολύ το ασπρόμαυρο!

Τον χρησιμοποιεί. Βασικά αυτό ετοιμάζουμε τους τελευταίους μήνες, ένα εργαστήρι για να δουλεύει και να δείχνει τη δουλειά της!

😃 ωραία 👍🏻 σας εύχομαι πολύ επιτυχία με τον αργαλειό και το εργαστήρι και ελπίζω ότι σύντομα θα μας έχετε και post 🧶🧵😊.

Great pictures of Marcos. I especially like the profile view. Your question is an interesting one. I think it comes to intent, What does the photographer want to convey? I also think it would be nice as viewers if we knew how much editing. Sometimes you can tell- and sometimes you don't know enough to be able to tell. I am very old school too and crop, lighten and darken, basic editing. Taking things out is a nice feature, like the leash on the photograph I mentioned of Marcos. It adds to the picture. Is it true to what happened? Marcos was on a walk and had a leash on. You didn't want to document that walk, you wanted to show his beauty and the leash distracted. Very interesting.

Yes I think that it is up to the photographer to draw his/her own ethical lines. It looks impossible for a global regulation, that everyone will follow, to be imposed and for sure photography as we knew it as a document will never be the same!

Oh friend, what a beautiful post... Both for the photos of Marcos (beautiful noble creature) and for the way you write... Regarding AI, I think that as with traditional post-processing software, it the important thing is to make the photo as "complete and accomplished as possible from the camera" and then use editing (either AI or our simple old Photoshop) to enhance the photo as desired but without "killing the essence of the photograph itself"... I say that: "The photographer must respect his photo, but the photographer must be reflected in the photo"... Anyway, my opinion will surely not be one of the "most authoritative", since I am just "A crazy guy with a old camera in hand, walking the same streets every day in his small town in a forgotten corner of Venezuela"... hehehe :))... Hugs and thanks for sharing @fotostef friend!


I agree with you! I think we belong to the same generation of old-school photographers :)

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I'm sorry you lost your beloved dog, but I think Marcos has brought you so much joy, he is beautiful!!!! Those pictures are spectacular.

I'm also sorry you no longer have a photo studio, but if at this point in your life you are happy...the studio you make up as you did, in the end...the result is amazing.

Greetings to both of you.

Thank you very much for your thoughtful words!

Our previous dog had a very long and very full life. Loosing him was a shock but it was only natural, eventually he had to go. Marcos is a completely different creature, he is not replacing the old one, he have found his own personal spot in our heart :)

The photo studio, on the other hand was a dream of my younger self, I've lived it and now I am in a new chapter. I have no regrets about anything!


I'm glad to hear that both losses were cycles that ended naturally and left good memories in your life.

I like the second image. Very beautiful portrait!
Beautiful dog too :)

Thank you, from both of us :)

Beautiful shots! Keep doing what you love!

Thanks a lot!

I'll try :)
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It is very beautiful. I enjoyed this follow, focus and sharpness

Thank you for stopping by!

Manually curated by brumest from the @qurator Team. Keep up the good work!

Thanks a lot @qurator and @brumest for your support!

So sad when they go. Still miss my "very good boy". Always will ❤️

Marcos is gorgeous 😍

If anyone out there still believes animals aren't sentient beings or don't have souls... or whatever...

They maybe need to see these photos.

Look at those eyes! And that expression 😊

I think the AI did a decent job. As a tool I'm all for it. I even tried it as an editor yesterday. Busy rewriting and editing Perfect.

The result wasn't very good though but perhaps I'm not skilled at prompts yet. It read very mechanically and was flat and rather formal.

I'll mess around a bit more with it today.

Yes. As a tool I think it will provide us with now much needed time in our now too busy lives. If all goes well!

Or it'll take over the internet and exterminate us. Of course 😆

When a dog finds its place in our heart, stays there forever. I'll always miss the first one but Marcos has his own place in my heart too!

It took me a lot of years to accept that digital photography is here to stay and now that I finally did, I have this AI thing to deal with. I guess even old dogs have to learn new tricks after all :)

We do though ;)

Looks like you're learning fast. And well <3

 2 months ago  

Congratulations. Today's #monomad first place is yours.
Thank You very much for participating and for being part of the Black And White Community!

Thanks a lot for your support!

These photos are great. I have always found dogs to be wonderful models to photograph. Their eyes are so expressive and deep! The first photos are perfect in black and white, but I agree with you, the last ones are best in colour. It brings out the beautiful bluish-black colour, like a panther, contrasting with the beautiful bright grass.
Adobe's tools have been AI-like for years, as we used the patch tool to correct or even invent part of an image, it was almost the same engineering as the actual AI tools.
In fact, before the general public was aware of the existence and use of AI, the industry was already using it and experimenting with it. How far exactly, I don't know 😄

Thank you very much! I love making portraits of dogs, way more than people. I probably understand them better :)

I don't know much about engineering but I sense that those tools, as handy and helpful they are, they could easily deviate from their purpose as tools and become something controversial. But maybe I am just oversuspicious!

Sure, a tool can always be used for another purpose, and that's nothing new... with a knife, you can cut up a carrot, but you can also kill someone :) (does this smiley here have a creepy side?)

Haha, no I love that smiley :)

You are right, tools will be tools and people will be people, doing whatever their primitive brain tells them to do!