Much classical photo-journalism has been done in black & white. This is quite a change from the way our eyes see the world.
I guess that I really do not care too much if the meaning of the photo is not changed.
One of the photo manipulations that bothered me in the past was the photo taken by Arnold Newman of Krupp for a book cover where he used lighting to give Krupp a very sinister look. This would be OK with me if he has first said to Krupp "I am going to make you look sinister". The Krupp family has much to be ashamed of in their WWII behavior. I feel no kinship with them.
Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)
My thoughts on the issue are similar to those expressed by Roger - keep the water in the fountain of truth clean. In an ideal world, the photojournalist will take a series of photos, and then select one that accurately summarizes the event. That, however, is an editorial process, and subject to the editorial slant (aka propaganda motivations) of the publication.
Being able to honestly say, "No" to the question of whether an image is a composite goes a long way in my book. It's up to the photojournalist's skills to get the "right" picture.
[COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]
Rio Rancho, NM
The manipulation of an image to alter its perceived editorial content is as old as photography. The problem today is it is so easy to do. Anyone with a computer and a small amount of photoshop smarts can edit people or objects in and out of scenes.
The flip side to that I think as more photographers or "journalists" try to get away with it, the more they will be caught and the more the public will view all images with a healthy amount of skepticisim as to the validity of the content.
I think the public is pretty sophisticated and understands that you must be very carefull regarding any content, print or image.
I remember back in the 80s when NBC news revealed that it used pyrotechnic devices the help support a story of Chevrolet pickup trucks being prone to catching fire in a certain situation. After learning that I have have had zero trust in investigative stories by a news organization. I think people will simply extend that level of trust to photographs as well.
"Fundamentally I think we need to rediscover a non-ironic world"
The main sticking point here seems to me to be 'accurately' or 'objectively'. An example I've used elsewhere is photographs of politicians looking foolish. Depending on the politician or the photographer or the person seeing the photograph, the picture can be perceived as cruel or funny or a sad confirmation of what we all knew all the time.
ALL news journalism is campaigning journalism. Some campaign for one side; some campaign for the other; and those who campaign for 'objectivity' are campaigning for their subjective interpretation of it. I campaign for silver halide photography!
Learning to guess/spot the bias is essential, and should be taught in school. That's why, when I was at school, the VIth form common room at my house subscribed (at my suggestion) to the North Vietnam Peace News and the British Union of Fascists newsletter. You'd be amazed at how many elderly fascists were reported as being murdered by the evil Jews -- at 85, the weapon of choice being a heart attack...
Perhaps the heart of the debate is really this: what are the limits of legitimacy in campaigning?
Last edited by Roger Hicks; 05-24-2006 at 01:10 PM. Click to view previous post history.
The best thing about film photography in a news context, in my view, is that it is possible to verify that the image is accurate by checking the negative. But the need for speed moved almost all photjournalists to digital quite some time ago and, knowing the need to meet deadline, I can't blame them. As noted in some other thread, time pressures are part of why newspapers stuck with large format for so long.
Originally Posted by Lachlan Young
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I think the keyword here is "convention." What kind of manipulations does the audience conventionally accept? In other words, if you effect a specific choice at any moment in your picture chain, is it assumed that your audience will have some awareness of it to "reverse engineer" that manipulation and get the point you're trying to make without believing that they're seeing something that isn't there.
Example #1: Removing red-eyes. Most people know what red-eyes are, and some even know why they exist. When you are removing them, it is assumed that you are removing an unnecessary photographic artifact.
Example #2: Black and white photojournalism. We all know that the world is in color (sorry for excluding daltonians here). Therefore, when we see a b&w story, we can infer that there is no intent to present a reality that sticks photon by photon to the picture. We know what to take and what to leave out.
Example #3: Explicitely reconstructing a scene. If, unlike NBC, you would have told your viewers that you are using pyrotechnics to recreate the explosion of a gas tank by adding a mention to this effect, you allow people to see past the "forgery" to get to your point, without deceiving them. If you do not, then you are flaunting that convention, and therefore misleading your audience.
There are many more thorny examples. I'm sticking to simple ones to illustrate my point, but the idea is that what is acceptable manipulation is not stipulated by a code, but rather by a convention which is shared by an audience and picture-makers.
Using film since before it was hip.
"One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal
, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11
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Photography is a form of communication as is all art. Every communication, no matter how "close" to reality it may be, is manipulated in some fashion.
Art makes a point. Yes it reflects on occasion a real situation but a story is always told from a point of view. Even the angle from which you shoot an image plays a part in how the image is perceived. You can shoot an actual portrait without altering the person but if you shoot from four different angles you can give four different perceptions of what that person is all about.
No matter how realistic we attempt to be, all photography is communicated with a point of view...and perceived by someone else's view.
When a photojournalist shoots a news item, any manipulation of the actual event to make it look like something else is no longer photojournalism.
But, if a photo is color corrected or cropped to dramatize the moment, that's still a journalistic approach. Cropping has always been a technique of manipulating the subject in a photograph. It doesn't need to be analog or digital specifically to use that technique.
If we are thinking that analog is more real than digital, we are under a great misconception. Perception is reality.
Documentary and honest film photographs are not manipulation. They are the biggest truth human ever investigated. Different view point make truth from different view points and they can represent one 3D object in different way and all can be truth, as 3+1=4 and also 6-2=4 both are truth.
What is manipulation is how we use photograph and what we see and what we want other to see in them. This is not manipulated photograph this is manipulation WITH photograph.
If someting is manipulated, away from truth, it is a lie. So all of you that beleive all photograph are manipulated are just liers for it is you practice.
Or lets redifine what is a meaning of "manipulation".