Award-winning photographer dumped for altering single Syria image
January 25, 2014
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From The Guardian
The Associated Press has severed ties with a Pulitzer prize-winning freelance photographer who it says violated its ethical standards by altering a photo he took while covering the war in Syria in 2013.
The news service 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.…more
I find this draconian measure to be completely out of step with the nature of photography. I understand that a journalist has some requirement to accurately represent a news item, however given the state of the press in the UK I am not sure that is ever the case. I cannot see how removing a camera from this image can in any way change the meaning or intent of the image. Photographers have always influenced the nature of their images to represent a viewpoint. What film, lens, camera, how the image was processed and printed all have an influence on the outcome and all of that comes after the photographer has decided where to point their camera. To reprimand Narciso Contreras and to reduce his ability to earn a living is just out of all consideration for the context of the image and the impact upon any viewer of the changes made. I am sure there are some that would say journalism has a sacred obligation to tell the truth hmm….. like politicians, estate agents and lawyers I suppose. To argue that it is impossible to police manipulations and therefore to say all are forbidden just takes me back to my earlier point about the choices already made when the image is captured. This is just madness
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