Beautiful iris chrome. Good point about the loss of shadow Gareth, something to remember. You definitely got a good point about shadow rendering spraynspay, this is what computers are for no? Tedious pixel-level tasks.
As an answer to yetibudha or simply for the sake of seeing how far we could push the subject...
There are photos that are not art at all, we probably can all agree on that.
There are photos that are art which I think can be put in two bins, touched and untouched.
One can retouch a photo so much that it will stop being photography altogether and become simply art or savage disfiguration, we probably can agree on that too.
The transition between the non-art and the art is fuzzy as it would be impossible to get a consensus, even on the very definition of what art is. It may just boil down to you like vs you don't.
The transition between photography and non-photography is also very subjective but there is surely a point above which even the most open-minded will stop calling it a photo.
In the most extreme form of tonemapping done with say photomatik, the cartoon-like rendering has definitely a computer-generated look, which is literally just that despite starting the generation using a photo. Technically, all digital photos are computer generated even in the camera itself. The simple fact of adjusting exposure or white balance could be ultimately considered as a form of retouching. Perhaps there is no such a thing as an untouched digital photo beside using all of the factory defaults and full auto. Is tone mapping creating data or is it simply revealing entire layers of present info otherwise invisible?
Again we deal with a fuzzy boundary but there is a point above which the generation process will cease to produce photography.
If someone likes to turn people heads fluorescent blue, what would be the problem with just calling it art? When one would become offended if it is denied the photographic status? Of course if the 'Blue Men Group' was taken, it would fall in the untouched bin.
Perhaps the real question is 'when does it stop being suitable for the PAD' which somehow is supposed to be a Nikon capabilities showcase unless I am mistaking. It would be interesting to know at which point Nikon itself would become offended by the unintended usage of their equipment.
Personally, I would not like to be confined to untouched only, especially when the RAW contains so much harvestable data. The better the cameras become the more exploitable info it contains and the more room it leaves for artistic interpretation without having to put data that was not there in the first place. Perhaps this is the separation point between photo and non-photo. Who knows, maybe the D900 will offer an infrared and ultraviolet white balance choice. (No, I ain't starting D5/D900 rumours but I am almost tempted to open a thread :~)
If you wish to call my work just art, I don't mind neither :-)
So we are dealing with a full gamut here and perhaps we are not giving ourselves enough freedom.
Is this photography?
What ya think?