Photojournalist fired for altered photo...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by pdxflint, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #1
    Looks like CS5 "content-aware" fill is beginning to bite some folks right in the rear. It seems one Getty freelancer got a little bit carried away with PS... ;) And when I read this article I wasn't too impressed with the photoshop work, anyway. Clearly, photojournalism has to preserve the integrity of the reporting, and the moment. If you don't capture it, then don't fake it. Even if you do it extremely well, and no one knows... you've only created fiction.

    http://networkedblogs.com/60fg4
     
  2. iBookG4user macrumors 604

    iBookG4user

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    #2
    Even though he most likely wasn't trying to deceive anyone, I think that they took the right stance on this by firing him. One should not alter photojournalistic pictures like that, it's not ethical.
     
  3. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #3
    Fiction has been the common currency of photography from its inception, of course, but it's good to see that photojournalistic pix are still required to be (reasonably) 'straight'. You can tweak an image... but you can't put something in... and you can't take anything out. Once you start with Photoshop, where do you stop?
     
  4. SayCheese macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    I think that Getty were right to drop both this image and this guy.
    He is a news photographer and is supposed to photograph the facts. If he is cloning something out then that's not the facts.
    Also, if he's cloning out and gets away with it then next time he might try something more extreme.
     
  5. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #5
    Of course, this doesn't stop highly trained Photoshop practitioners from operating in other areas of photography...

    [​IMG]
     
  6. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    #7
    Right

    Getty did the right thing. They are paying this guy to capture events. In the event captured, the guy was in the background. If nothing else, it could be damaging to Getty's reputation.
     
  7. Schtumple macrumors 601

    Schtumple

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    #8
    Good to hear, I think maybe being fired was a bit steep, but at the same time, got to wonder how many news corps put this image out, believing it to be accurate, and it's Gettys job to provide accurate images.
     
  8. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #9
    I agree with Getty's stance on this. They need to people to trust that an image from them, any image, is a true representation of an event.

    However, the photographer didn't get fired for altering the image, he got fired for being sloppy. He released both versions of the same image, and it was inevitable that someone was going to compare the two. If he had released only the altered version he likely would not have been caught.

    Unless the image was picked up and splashed across some big glossy magazine cover, in which case another photographer would have noticed the telltale artifacts and gone public. Because there is always some artifact left behind, and there is always a photographer who knows more than you do, and can spot the inconsistencies.

    Oh well. I am much more unhappy by the Economist (link in the thread above) where the deputy editor asked for an image to be altered to make an editorial statement, without making it clear that the cover photo was in fact "an artist's interpretation". Oh well...
     
  9. ManhattanPrjct macrumors 6502

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    #10
    I definitely agree with you there - it looks like the Predator is stalking him.
     
  10. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #11
    The golfer image is just made by someone greedy. If you photoshop something, typically you don't want the original floating around. Double dipping fail.

    Tell that to the economist, who recently photoshopped an image of Obama at the Gulf coast to make it look like he's defeated (looking downwards), while he is actually talking to someone else.
     

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  11. spice weasel macrumors 65816

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    #12
    No, he got caught for being sloppy. He got fired for altering the image. I understand your point, but let's not help spread the idea that actions are only unethical, immoral, or illegal if you get caught.
     
  12. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #13
    Mea Culpa.... you are absolutely correct. Sloppy use of words on my part.
     
  13. Xander562 macrumors 68000

    Xander562

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    #14
    I'm interested to know what the editing guidelines for getty images is exactly. Can anyone tell me?
     
  14. object88 macrumors member

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    #15
    Nothing to add here, except that I'm amused by the tagline in the advertisement that appeared at the bottom of the page for me:

    "Learn how to create drama"
     
  15. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #16
    This is the Canadian arm of Getty, but this is what you will find if you go to Getty site scroll down to 'Editorial Policy'....
     
  16. pdxflint thread starter macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #17
    I'm pleasantly surprised that nobody here has defended the actions that got this guy fired...:)

    On the Economist cover-- I think it also was wrong, because it clearly was intended to represent a news photo, while it really was a photo illustration, intended to create an impression, without being labeled as such. However, this was an editorial decision, not a photographer's decision, so the fault lies with the editorial management. Still wrong, IMHO.
     
  17. Kebabselector macrumors 68030

    Kebabselector

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    #18
    Pictures shouldn't distort the truth. That's what journalists are paid to do!
     
  18. jbernie macrumors 6502a

    jbernie

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    #19
    although both instances are wrong, one has more influence than the other, the golfer image really doesn't change the event, the picture of Obama has the potential to influence votes and public opinion which is pretty pathetic at best, but then again depending on which way the Economist leans is could be pro or anti Obama.

    (Not an American, can't vote in the USA, strong dislike for cheap political gains regardless of who benefits/suffers)
     
  19. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #20
    I agree a bit with your comments on the golfer shot. The original was too cluttered to sell, so he cleaned it up. Wait. I take it back. If he was good enough to earn the commissions from his work outright, then he/she could have hit the shot with less in the background. The photojournalists I knew in college were a bit on the rabid side and would do anything to get The Shot.

    Dale
     
  20. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

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    #21
    So they fired the guy? Completely lame.

    So it's okay to remove the man in the background by lowering your position while photographing the scene, but not in the computer, even though the end message is the same? What if someone uses a blend mode with an image to adjust color... acceptable? Or if you crop an image from a 3:2 to a 4:3 perspective? Whatever. Silly, pointless rules

    I'm at the completely opposite end of the photography spectrum from the photojournalists, and shake my head at their ridiculous, contrived "code of ethics."
     
  21. Doylem macrumors 68040

    Doylem

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    #22
    Not lame: photojornalists understand the 'ground rules' about what is acceptable and what isn't. But, yes, there are many ways of presenting 'opinion' masquerading as 'fact'. It's easy, for example to use a pic of a politician looking shifty or stupid to accompany a hatchet piece of writing, or use the 'statesmanlike' shot for a more supportive article.

    You can choose your composition, you can crop, you can make minor adjustments (in terms of picture quality), but you can't put anything into a pic in PP and you can't take anything out. It's import to maintain the integrity of documentary and news photography (though I admit that the words 'integrity' and 'news' don't always sit well together).

    The rules aren't watertight (I mean, how much can you crop??), but I prefer to argue about the rules than to dispense with them altogether. Otherwise news is nothing more than propaganda...
     
  22. Ruahrc macrumors 65816

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    #23
    Yes, it is okay to get a lower perspective and get rid of the guy, but it is not okay to edit him out. The difference in end result may be trivial in this instance, but the concept is what is at issue here. And the Economist cover is a great example of how easy it is to start sliding down that slippery slope.

    As a photojournalist your primary job is to document events, not create aesthetically pleasing images. Making nice looking images is second after properly recording the truth. This is different from a landscape or "art" photographer, where the goal is aesthetics. Getty's strength comes from their reputation of being a professional and ethically uncompromising source of images. If you let things like this slide Getty would be undermining their strongest asset. It would be like National Geographic using CGI rendered scenes or paintings as landscapes in their articles because the photographer had bad weather on his shoot.

    I think part of the problem is that the standard for photos is possibly becoming unrealistically high too. If it's not a big deal to edit out the guy in the background, what's wrong with him being there in the first place? If he is not changing the meaning of the picture, then why would it even be necessary to remove him in order to "improve" the photo to begin with? It's because we expect all professional/published photography to be perfect works of art as well as telling a story or showing an event. Kind of like how models on magazine covers are edited to all hell, because we expect them to look perfect because they're on magazine covers. We expect any image of any kind to be perfect even to the point where reality takes second seat.

    You could almost argue that PJs are not photographers in the artistic sense whatsoever. Their job is to document, not create. They just happen to use cameras to do the documenting, and it just so happens that other people also like to use cameras to create art. It's almost two completely separate realms.
     
  23. pdxflint thread starter macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

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    #24
    Frankie, seriously dude? So in your opinion any staged shot, or fabricated, concocted, completely imaginary shot would be okay by you in the world of journalism?

    Sure, the photographer could have managed a different perspective that would have achieved the same end result as photoshopping out the undesirable background... but he didn't. Maybe someone else got that shot with a better composition or angle, which means they worked for it on scene... right there, live and in person. That's the thing that makes photojournalism actually very hard for lots of people... they have to get the "shot." You can't just make it up in photoshop. So, to be good, you not only have to get the shot, but you still need to understand light, composition and all the other "creative" aspects of successful photography. You just can't fake it like fashion or advertising photography, because the public generally knows the difference, and usually assumes the photojournalists work comes from the camera.

    Yes, news photos can be cropped to some extent, and the tonal quality/sharpness can be optimized for output, but essentially the image needs to have been generated through the lens, not through software or any other form of creative graphic arts. You might make light of the "ethic" thing, but it's there for a reason, I'll leave it to you to think about it. The fact that there has been a disturbing trend to blow off this ethical concept/standard is why we're completely losing our trust in journalism, sad to say. If you think that's okay, then you run the risk of being completely manipulated by all media the rest of your life... the question you might want to ask is: whose interests will be served?
     
  24. JaredJL macrumors newbie

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    #25
    "Reynolds immediately alerted the Getty Images New York picture desk. Shortly after, Getty Images issued a mandatory kill on the image, alerting Getty subscribers of the situation."
    That's interesting...:rolleyes:
     

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