July 9, 2010 Peter

Photoshop, Photo Integrity, And Obama

Who doesn’t use photoshop these days? It’s a crutch as well as a way to make awesome photos even AWESOME(ER). I obviously use it for my weddings to help enhance what is already there and take away that which takes away from the emotional connection of the photo. But when it comes to the news and photojournalism I think it’s a little different. As you can see with the photo above the mostly conservative magazine The Economist decided to use photoshop to make it seem that Obama was alone and thoughtful about the spill. The fact of the matter is that Obama was listening to local representative, Charlotte Randolph who is obviously about a foot or so shorter than he. So the fact of the matter is that although Obama may be upset and discouraged about the spill he was leaning his head over listening. It’s one thing to enhance photos from a wedding to help tell a story because the wedding photographer is getting paid to help preserve their story in the best possible light no matter what. A photojournalist or news organization is there to tell the story as it is. Now, of course, there will always be an angle but to intentionally leave something out to make a point is disingenuous and deceptive.

Let me put it this way. Every photographer has clicked someone who was in mid-blink which made it look like they were drunk. Do you think that it would be okay to post a photograph of someone who looked like they were drunk at a company meeting when they weren’t? Even if they were three nights ago? No, it’s not okay. And when the general public is counting on news organizations to at least give me all the information so that I can decide for myself.

I’d be interested to know what you think.

Here’s the economist story

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Comments (2)

    • Once one thing to edit a photo for an emotional response it something totally different to edit a photo of something that didn’t exist for an emotional response in the world of “just the facts” news.

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