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Thread: Photographer Sacked For Image Manipulation

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    Formerly : Apollo62 ApolloLXII's Avatar
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    Photographer Sacked For Image Manipulation

    I saw this recently and it raises the question of just how much image manipulation should photographers be allowed to get away with. Personally, I have nothing against tidying up an image to remove unwanted or visual distractions but I wouldn't insert something into an image that wasn't there in the first place (unless my intention was to create a piece of graphic art). In this instance, a frog was put into the birds' beak in an effort to make the shot more "interesting" and then passed off as a "nature" shot. When it was discovered that the photographer, Bryan Patrick, had manipulated the image, he was suspended and then, subsequently, fired from his job.

    The question is: Do you think it was reasonable for the photographer to be sacked for doing what he did?

    The biggest issue that this story raises is that, with image manipulation being so commonplace in photography, there is an increasing trend of general scepticism by the general public that is becoming more evident. Will our eyes cease to trust what they are seeing when viewing a photograph of nature which has not been labelled as having been manipulated? Should there be some sort of requirement (legal or otherwise) for manipulated photographs to be labelled as such? Your thoughts please....................

    http://www.petapixel.com/2012/02/03/newspaper-photographer-suspended-for-splicing-bird-photos/

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    Member rene52's Avatar
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    I am not that sure that the general public show that much scepticism in the general photography (mainly the fashion magazines). I agree with the fact that if a photo is passed off as an original nature photo that has items inserted then it then becomes as you said Graphic art rather than a true photo. If you look at the photo magazines around at present you will also see that there is definately manipulation happening to the photos that appear (they wouldn't be 'winners' if they were not manipulated). I do some manipulation myself but again stop at inserting items as this is not what I saw as such. I haven't got to the stage of the professional photographers but I do learn from what they inform us through these mags or lessions or workshops.....

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    If said photograph was being used for the likes of National Geographic or similar publication, then I beilieve it would be unethical. For general use, I have no problems with graphic manipulation, provided we are not being expected to believe that a) her body really belongs to her head or b) That would really happen in nature

    The most common graphic manipulation like this is the massive moon land/city/sea scape image and they are recogniseable in .02 of a second for what they are.
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    As I understand the issue he didn't get sacked for the manipulation of this bird image, he got sacked for the manipulation of another image involving an image of a bushfire affected area he was reporting on as well.

    Basically he 'has a history' of manipulation of images presented as news ..

    In the bushfire image he's enhanced some residual fire in the background of the overall scene.
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    He's a press photographer and the newspaper has rules about how much manipulation is allowed for published photos. He was fired because it isn't the first time he has done it: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/04/423...r-readers.html.
    Compared to journalists who have been caught misrepresenting or fabricating stories and gotten away with an apology or retraction it seems harsh but photojournalists are held to a higher standard.
    Last edited by darkbhudda; 14-02-2012 at 1:33pm.

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    takes away from the art of photography imo... but at the end of the day does it really matter?

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    I guess if he was open about the manipulation and presented it as such to the powers that be, they would at least have had the ability to say ' no , that isn't fair game - present your original [OR ELSE!]'
    I'm guessing that the manipulation was an attempt to deceive in which case, I personally (note the word personally) feel that he is in the wrong. 'Sack'-worthy? dunno - I'm not in the press photography industry!
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    I agree with Darkbhudda, the issue is that the photos were NEWS JOURNALISM, not manipulation for any other reason. Ethics in News reporting and rules that apply to News phtoographers, I agree, he should have been sacked.

    Now just to apply the same to ACA and TT and get rid of those programmes..heheh
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    The way I read the article is that the frog was in the birds mouth the entire time. There were two shots, both with the frog in the birds mouth. One of the shots had another bird lunging at the frog but the angle of the frog in this shot is not as obvious as the second shot that it is a frog. The photographer used the head/ frog part of the 2nd image, in which the meal for the bird is obviously a frog, in the 1st image where the other bird is lunging at the frog.
    Manipulating the photo so that it represents something that was not happening at the time should definitely not happen. Manipulating it so people better understand what is happening? Interesting topic
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    Quote Originally Posted by darkbhudda View Post
    Compared to journalists who have been caught misrepresenting or fabricating stories and gotten away with an apology or retraction it seems harsh but photojournalists are held to a higher standard.
    This seems ironic, but highlights that although the general population recognise that photo manipulation occurs, they/we still expect it has some true representation of a point in time. Written journalism at it's best, can only be an interpretation of the truth as perceived by the journalist. Therefore misrepresentation is just a bit further away from the truth, and seemingly easier to forgive.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I suppose even tho a picture may say a thousand words .... and a journalist may write a thousand words in a piece, the journalist's literary interpretation may be more thoroughly scrutinised by the mere fact that the words will have to be backed up with evidence, and some form of common sense.

    A journalist can only get away with fabricating data for only a very limited amount of time before ridicule and ostracism takes place.
    It's easier for the photographer to hide behind the veil of CS6 and claim the images to be pure!
    The evidence they have is fully under their own control if they wish.

    Of course the journalist may present evidence in a particular way, and it may be slanted in a partial manner ... deliberately or not.
    But it's much harder to scrutinise an image in the same way.


    In a sense, the way I scrutinise written or even 'live' reportage, I'll either stop and listen or read,(possibly in agreeance, or not) or if the journalist is spewing out tripe, I simply switch off.

    With an image, once you see it you usually end up believing it, unless it's so far over the top that it beggars belief.

    I think he was sacked not only for the deception he perpetrated, which in reality is a trivial matter, on the public .... but the deception perpetrated on the paper itself.

    By using manipulation in his images he's basically admitting that he's not as good a photographer as they think he may have been.

    I don't see his sacking by the newspaper as wrongful or over reaction .. I'd probably done the same thing(if were his employer).
    I'm sure if an employee was deceitful under anyone's employment, that they'd have reacted the same way.

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    G'day all

    There are legal requirements to specify "digitally manipulated image" when it has been manipulated
    Only a couple of days ago, the NSW Daily Tele had a front page shot of the new federal parliament speaker, Mr Slipper manipulated with a wig + funny ears + whiskers ... along with a story about Mr Slipper's desire to alter some aspects of the Speaker's role within parliament

    While the image ridiculed him, it was made very clear by the accompanying caption that it had been manipulated

    If this particular 'tog referred to by the OP as being sacked for manipulating image(s) without any advisory, and the photo thus appears to the viewer to be 'au-naturale' then this is not in the spirit of reportage > thus I can see his employer's dilemma ... ie- when will an image appear that will breach legal &/or ethical guidelines and will I [the employer] be liable?

    Maybe he could now get a job at ASIO or TAFE ....
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    First world problems......

    But if he was asked to do something one way and didn't, its not any different from any other job.

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