PetaPixel

Getty Photographer Terminated Over Altered Golf Photo

Earlier today, Dallas Morning News photo editor Guy Reynolds noticed a strange relationship between two Getty images of golfer Matt Bettencourt at the Reno-Tahoe Open golf tournament. One photo featured a tight image of the golfer holding up his ball, victorious, after the 11th hole. The other image, vertical, shows the golfer in the same position, but with another person standing in the background, possibly the golfer’s caddy. Initially, Reynolds assumed the photograph was taken by two different photographers, from different angles. However, upon further inspection, Reynolds realized the photo was taken by the same photographer, Marc Feldman, and it appeared that the tighter image was actually altered to omit the second person.

Reynolds immediately alerted the Getty Images New York picture desk. Shortly after, Getty Images issued a mandatory kill on the image, alerting Getty subscribers of the situation.

Reynolds speculates that the photographer in this case, Getty freelancer Marc Feldman, probably removed the other person in the image for aesthetic purposes, and not necessarily to deceive anyone. However, regardless of what and why, the Getty Images policy, as well as basic photojournalism ethics condemn this degree of photo manipulation.

In an e-mail exchange with PDN, Getty PR manager said:

Getty Images actively advocates and upholds strict guidelines pertaining to the capture and dissemination of its editorial content … As such, when Getty Images was made aware of (the) altered image in our coverage of this event, it was immediately removed…from our website and a mandatory ‘kill’ request was sent to our feed-based subscribers. In adherence with our zero tolerance policy on photo manipulation, we terminated our relationship with freelance photographer Marc Feldman.

All this comes not two weeks after the Economist cover caused a buzz when the editors chose to omit the presence of Louisiana parish president Charlotte Randolph standing next to President Obama. Alas, it appears yet another photographer could not resist the temptation of Photoshop CS5’s content-aware fill. And in this case, it cost the photographer his job.

You can read Guy Reynold’s entire account about discovering the altered image here.

(via PDN)


 
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  • Kuyler McComas

    Well, in all honesty it is a lousy Photoshop job… it pretty much screams that something's been cloned out and ends up looking busier than it did with the guy's head in it!

  • Dgrwriting

    I understand wanting to make a photo ore marketable but when doing journalistic stock removing people is like altering facts. I just don't understand how the photographer figured removing a person would be a good idea.

  • Steve

    I reckon it is a bit harsh, I understand that it is important to keep journalistic integrity, but I don't think this really changes the message of the photo.

    With the head still in it, it looks as if it is growing out of the golfers shoulder. Not so bad in context, but in a tight shot this would be pretty distracting.

    I don't see how this is any worse than cropping out his legs, or the people in the background. This is just highlighting the feature of the moment.

  • Steve

    I reckon it is a bit harsh, I understand that it is important to keep journalistic integrity, but I don't think this really changes the message of the photo.

    With the head still in it, it looks as if it is growing out of the golfers shoulder. Not so bad in context, but in a tight shot this would be pretty distracting.

    I don't see how this is any worse than cropping out his legs, or the people in the background. This is just highlighting the feature of the moment.

  • http://twitter.com/Deathgleaner G. Liu

    You're firing a guy for this? Well goddammit I hate you Getty images. Also, if you look at the zoom photo of the guy, on his left shoulder, you can see a little distortion. It reminds me of the distortion on the nearby air i see when i see a fire.

  • http://twitter.com/Deathgleaner G. Liu

    You're firing a guy for this? Well goddammit I hate you Getty images. Also, if you look at the zoom photo of the guy, on his left shoulder, you can see a little distortion. It reminds me of the distortion on the nearby air i see when i see a fire.

  • james

    Seems silly to me. Getting fired after helping your audience focus. Chances are the photographer couldn't be in all the key places for good shots so he pulled out his toolkit and made a moment. The world was better for it. Well, until somebody blew the whistle.

  • jonliebold

    It does not matter if it made the image better or helped the reader focus. He broke Getty's rules. It does not matter that, bad Photoshop job aside, the image was “better” or “helped the reader focus”. It is a news photo, not a fine art piece. The photographer agreed to abide by the rules and he did not do so. It is plain and simple. Since Getty's reputation gets hurt each and every time, they deal with it by firing photographers who break that rule. And I am sure Getty makes its photographers well aware of that policy.

    Again though the issue comes down to ethics. It may sound idealistic, but photojournalism is supposed to capture the moment that is there as it happened. In that moment the caddy was there and too bad if it degraded the shot. You work with what you have and the angles from which you can get them. Sure you can alter a photo and disclose it, but in news publications “photo has been altered” reads as “photo is not accurate/trustworthy”.

  • http://www.kpraslowicz.com K. Praslowicz

    Ethics aside, I'd have let him go for for the B-team shop job he did. If you're in the business of selling images, that one looks like damaged goods.

  • http://twitter.com/Vale_theBlogger Valentina

    the golfer is on the foreground with or without the person behind him, so I don't see why to cut it…

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  • a photographer

    it’s all about PHOTOGRAPHY.. ¬†Photojournalism ethics.. Don’t simply judge by saying that Getty is bad, cruel or whatsoever.. That is the basic rules in photojournalism.. The integrity, passion, principles, techniques, value and so on.. So, if you guys want to become a Photojournalist some day, please do some homework in ‘Photojournalism Do’s & Don’ts’.. Then you guys know how this small photo adjusment means big to Getty..¬†

    p/s: Not only Getty Images applying the rules.. National Geographic, Reuters and AP has been doing the same thing for years!!