The few anomalies before the digital age were, well, anomalies (at least in mainstream visual culture).
Now though, photographers and editors had the power to manipulate ‘record’ as is illustrated in this
National Geographic cover and the infamous OJ Simpson mug shot.
The news service (AP) said on Wednesday that Narciso Contreras recently told its
editors that he manipulated a digital picture of a Syrian rebel ﬁghter taken last
September, using software to remove a colleague’s video camera from the lower left
corner of the frame. That led AP to review all of the nearly 500 photos Contreras has
ﬁled since he began working for the news service in 2012. No other instances of
alteration were uncovered, said Santiago Lyon, the news service’s vice president and
director of photography.
‘The camera phone is rapidly changing our visual landscape through its immediacy
and interactional qualities. It is also changing the nature of how news is gathered and
At his point we brought in (not literally, he is dead) Immanuel Kant and moral philosophies.
Morality in the consequences
Morality in duties and rights
is the source reputable?
– is the answer time speciﬁc?
– is there a deﬁnitive answer?
– if not what can we say with certainty?
– what could we present to an audience?
Its interesting to see the effect this editing has on peoples professions. If the edit is for overall moral truth then is it right to ignore the consequences. In any circumstance there will be opposition to moral correctness, so even if the result would improve some morality, there would be some opposition if they found out, and it would cause greater controversy. Just because we have software available to use, we shouldn’t use it to change the truth if thats our job. If its an open part of the art then you can change it without fear of repercussion, but if its a conscious decision that goes ahead without mentioning, then thats the issue of the photographer / editor, and they will need to justify themselves to prevent a backlash. For my assignment 1 I do edit my images in light-room; turning up the contrast and maybe sometimes playing with the adjustment brush, but it wouldn’t be anything that would change the connotations, it would be a decision to make the image look better for the project (colour and sharpness). Photographers need to tread carefully so that this amateur / professional relationship isn’t damaged. If the professional isn’t trusted, will there be a need for professionals, or would laws be introduced. How do we know what is true and what is not anymore?