News photography and Photoshop – Reuters Newsblogs

News photography and Photoshop – Reuters Newsblogs

“The rules are – no additions or deletions, no misleading the viewer by manipulation of the tonal and colour balance to disguise elements of an image or to change the context.

Photoshop is a powerful image processing program with many more tools to help photographers produce the best quality image they can for the type of photography they do. There is not a Photoshop program for use by news photographers and another for advertising, where image-changing is tolerated. What we in the news photo community need to regulate is what tools are used for photojournalism and what are not.”

This is from a Reuters News Blog by Gary Hershorn concerning acceptable uses of Photoshop software for photo journalists.  Reuters “terminated its relationship” (their words) with Adnan Hajj, a freelance photographer who evidently doctored at least two of a huge collection of photos he had taken for Reuters. I can’t help but wondering if I’ve seen the photos?  CNN has an example of one before and after where he darkened the smoke.  We haven’t, as far as I know, heard a motive.  So was he just trying to make it better? It doesn’t seem as though he made it look much worse.

It’s interesting that Reuters says that it is acceptable to doctor advertising photographs but not news photographs.  Yet, banning any kind of editing doesn’t do away with bias.  After all, the photographer chooses the subject, the moment in time.  Only he knows the truth of the event, has seen all the frames leading up to and moving away from the single frame he chose to preserve.

Another great conversation for a media literacy course.  I think what makes sense for a college course would be a general introduction to media and then spending the semester being part of it through blogging and podcasting, using these formats to comment on the media.  The course would not have any kind of judgment involved in it: we’re not trying to protect our students from the media.  Instead, they are going to be immersed in it in a more conscious way.

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