About the Image
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
My research is taking me in a whole new direction that I was hoping it wouldn't take me. In writing on how technology has changed the guidelines and contest rules in photojournalism and in turn, changing the profession, it doesn't look good. I have been stressing out because contest rules that I have found say nothing about checking for manipulation. The same goes for most guidelines. They do say in contests the pictures have to be published which goes to checks in the newsroom. However, in newsrooms, they may catch someone here and there, but they just tell you to be honest and not manipulate the images. So this technology could leave someone dishonest with an awesome career and plenty of awards, wedging out the honest photographer. If contests have ignored the technology, how do they know the winners are even good photographers, or just simply good Photoshop users?
It is somewhat depressing for me to think that I am going to enter this profession that has ignored technological change and failed to change its standards. I could be someday working alongside someone, a collegue, that is altering left and right and getting all the stories that I would want to cover just because they are dishonest. It is depressing to think that the profession may not even involve professionalism. It reminds me of business. Do anything to get ahead, sometimes it may be a little dishonest. But in a profession like photojournalism where you are there to serve the public, individual motivations for fame and fortune should not come into play.
I can hope that the profession will take note of all these incidents they have uncovered and do something about it so technology does not ruin the integrity of photojournalists.
Monday, December 01, 2003
I am beginning to realize that no one talked about photography ethics back in the day. I went through tons of journal articles and sorted by date. You can tell where ethics and manipulation discussions stop. I found a couple of articles that discuss how electronic imaging is ruining the profession and art of photography. But those were from 1990. So, I'm thinking I don't have to go back as far as I thought to find old contests. Hopefully that will make this research easier. Yes, I'm still struggling finding old guidelines, and I'm running out of time. The guy from U of Missouri never returned my email and neither did the NPPA. I'm running out of ideas.
Thursday, November 27, 2003
Contest rules don't seem to have any sort of requirement that allows the judges to see the original image before editing. They even had a contest called picture editing. They do say in some of the rules I found that the pictures must have been published. So I guess responsibility is left to the publication to check out the honesty in a photo. But I don't know if they do that either. Maybe I can email the photo editor of Dallas Morning News or Star Telegram to see if they run some kind of check before they publish a photo. If contests are checking the honesty of a photo, than who is? If no one does, then no wonder it has been so easy to find incidents. With reporters, they have to provide their sources. But if those sources go unchecked, then false information could get published. Is it the same for photojournalists? Does their work go unchecked? I'm thinking that newspapers must rely on their employees own personal ethics, since timeliness is so important, they wouldn't have time to check everything out. I worked for a monthly magazine once as a fact checker. It would take at least a few days to double check a story. So apparently newspapers would have to have faith in their reporters or photographers.
The contest rules I found say tell the categories for entries and requirements, but nothing else about the original image, just that it be published. To view these contests click:
NPPA Photo Clip Contest
Sport Photos of the Year
World in Focus
Tuesday, November 25, 2003
I found an old manipulation in a book in the reading room the other day. It was a photo of Janis Joplin. She was making her usual hand jestures and the view was from below her. It looked really cool because she was shaking her head so her hair was everywhere. However, the photographer changed the photo in the darkroom. In the actual photo, the background was very bright white and there was a door in the back corner. But the photographer put panty hose over the light on the enlarger to make it darker. Then he used his hand during exposure to block out the door. The outcome was a very creative use of light, but the picture was not honest and against the ethical standards. Hopefully, if they let us take books out of the room, I can show the picture in my presentation.
Monday, November 24, 2003
I'm starting to wish I had picked a different topic. Current information on contests, ethics, no problem, its everywhere. But the old stuff is creating problems, still. I spoke with Susan Zavoina to see if she could give me any leads on where to find the information. She tried. She told me to look in the reading room in the journalism office and told me about an annual contest called the Best of Photojournalism done by the University of Missouri at Columbia. She also gave me the name of a professor at the University to try to do an interview. However, I have not heard back from him and the reading room had some sources, but not the kind I'm looking for. The books on the contest were mainly pictures of the winners. There was a couple of pages of an editorial on the judging process, but nothing about guidelines they followed. They would mainly talk about how they narrowed down the entries. So I struck out. Next, I'm going to go to the public library to see what I can find there, then try to look at old web sites to see if there is anything there. I forgot- I also sent an email to the NPPA, but still no reply. Stress!
Thursday, November 06, 2003
Finally, I have decided on a topic for my paper. I want to look at the profession of photojournalism and how it has changed over time due to advancements in technology. I will look at the past and present in terms of contest rules, guidelines, and incidents.
Since we now have such programs as photoshop to make the process of publication easier, we no longer need to use darkrooms to perfect the images. It can be done much easier on the computer. But this program can also mean trouble. Altering photos can be easily done, whether it is the content or just some slight alteration to make the image cleaner (dodging, burning, removing dust and scratches). I found a few links to show the guidelines on photo manipulation. All seem to agree that as long as content is untouched, other slight alterations to make the image clearer are ok. They also say that collages or photo compositions must obviously be so and labeled as not to mislead readers. The one difference I found in the guidelines one difference: in AP, they say no alteration is allowed to the color of the photograph. To view the guides, click: Associated Press Washington Post New York Times
Friday, October 17, 2003
If design is such an important aspect of publishing the news today, then you would have to consider the web as a distributer of the news. Just as newspapers have to consider design and working in advertising, so do websites. They have to consider download times, use of space, color, and use of photos as well. This development of technology, however, has not taken the place of newspapers. In an article by John McIntyre called With So Much Content on the Internet, Why Do People Still Read Newspapers? he discusses why people still love their newspapers. The main reason was portability. People like to be able to tuck the paper under their arm and read it wherever they like. So how do images come in? My theory is that in newspapers, like magazines, you can browse through, reading headlines easily by turning pages. You know where to find things, or can tell what is you want to read by the headlines and photos. But with the Internet, browsing through pages and pages of text, with limited space for photos and headlines, you could search for far more time to find what you're looking for. With scrolling, links, and the sometimes confusing format of such a plethora of information on the web, being able to just open a paper may be more appealing. To see the results of the study on Internet versus newspapers, click here.