Here’s an interesting story from the Guardian today. Narciso Contreras a Pulitzer prize winning photojournalist was fired from the Associated Press for photoshopping one of his images, the before and after are below.
What’s interesting is not that he has been released into the wild but rather the idea that photographs tell the truth in the first place. There are 100 ways of telling the same story and there are 100 more ways of showing it. What’s interesting here is not that the camera was digitally removed but rather that it wasn’t cropped out in the first place, in my mind there’s very little difference between the two. In Flat Earth News Nick Davies shows how journalists distort facts to fit their agenda- here’s looking at you Daily Mail. Photography is no different, there might be 100 photographs of me on facebook looking miserable and bearded but that doesn’t mean… oh ok bad example. Bad examples aside you get the picture (see what I did there?) a photograph is nothing more than a set of eyes that can only see what is deemed important, to me that is a very strange version of reality.
A photograph deemed expectable by the Associated Press (again read Davies’s book to read more about them) would have been one of a few hundred images taken that day, the lens would of been chosen that showed the subject in the best or worst way, the photographer might cut out any unwanted distractions, such as other cameras, a street lamp or an annoying passing car, if not while taking the shot then defiantly in post. The colours would be sharpened, perhaps drastically changed (blue sky for example) and finally eyes and lips might be sharped, surroundings might be blurred slightly. All this is deemed perfectly acceptable even though it is far more perfect than life could ever be.
Photojournalists and Photojournalism are important and with the rise of camera phone amateurs we should all be sad they are going extinct, but that doesn’t mean you should trust the image, even if it hasn’t been photoshopped…