Should Photo Contests Require Original Image Files?

Shaofeng Xu’s photo of a protestor climbing a high-voltage electricity tower won Honorable Mention in the Contemporary Issues category of the World Press Photo 2012 contest. Look at it again as a thumbnail.

If the subject of the image seems to be “popping,” that’s because it is.

It is common to see heavy vignetting in a magazine portrait (think Platon). It is common for iPhone apps to add artistic vignetting. But in a photojournalistic image, this is very extreme. There’s no modern lens that creates that amount of light fall-off so close to the center of the frame (the technical information says 200mm at f/2.8).

For the past few years, I’ve been paying attention to the winners of the most prestigious photojournalism awards. The decisive moments captured by photographers (many in harm’s way) are pretty astounding. These are great images. But something that’s been bothering me is the obviousness of the post processing, and how “artistic” looking photos have become.

Denis Rouvre's portrait of Toku Konno won 3rd prize singles in World Press Photo 2012. Does the desaturation cross the line of photojournalism?

Photojournalism is held to a different standard of veracity than other forms of photography. Many organizations have created language to address what is acceptable, but in many cases it’s ambiguous at best with no clear line of delineation (and people get fired over this stuff). Here are some excerpts from various organizations:

NPPA Code of Ethics:

Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images’ content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.

World Press Photo Entry Rules:

The content of the image must not be altered. Only retouching which conforms to currently accepted standards in the industry is allowed. The jury is the ultimate arbiter of these standards and may at its discretion request the original, unretouched file as recorded by the camera or an untoned scan of the negative or slide.

Pictures of the Year International Entry Rules: No specific language regarding manipulation.

William B. Plowman's image of a Nomadic Dinka won the Award of Excellence in the Pictures of the Year International. Does the desaturation affect our perception of the scene?

Given the number of cases of manipulation (and the ambiguity surrounding what’s acceptable), I propose that photojournalism contests require entrants to submit their original, unadulterated files with their entries, so that judges can see the level of retouching involved. This doesn’t solve the question of where the line is, but it does give the judges an informed position from which to ask that question.

But who am I? I asked a few photographers and judges about it.

Jimmy Colton, Sports Illustrated
Jimmy has judged numerous contests including the Eddie Adams Workshop

The selective dodging and burning has gotten way out of hand and the saturation to the point of ‘neon,’ in picture two is insane! I would have disqualified all of these…or…at the very least….if the judges felt compelled to keep them, award them with an HM AND a Citation that read….’If this image was not Photoshopped to death, it may have been considered for an award.’

It would be really difficult to manage raw files and high end jpegs as they take up so much room…

What I think they could do, is that during the judging process, if there is any question about post production, that they ask the entrant to submit the original file for comparison. But even that is no guarantee that judges will miss/ignore these egregious abuses…..or….before they make the awards public….they could request the originals from ALL the winners for comparison.

Terry Eiler, Director, School of Visual Communication, Ohio University
Terry serves on the contest committee for the NPPA

As a profession and an industry, we go through this ‘manipulation’ in cycles. In the 1950′s and 1960′s it was potassium ferricynide that was used to bleach the eyes and bring highlights of ‘extraordinary’ glow to skin. In that era the phrase or excuse was that it made the tones more reproducible. By the 1970′s through the 1990′s, it was called ‘hand-of-god’ burning and dodging. No, matter what we called it, the result was heavily manipulated images. When these images win in contest, we (as a profession) reduce the integrity of our work. We also ‘encourage’ other to do the same thing to ‘win’ a contest.

When work is disqualified. When awards are taken away. When judges start rebuking the obvious manipulation found in world-wide contest, perhaps we can get back to visual journalism and judgement of content. One of the current ‘trends’ we fight at the university is the students desire to convert everything contest image to overly dramatic black & white images, because it ‘wins’ awards. This make it look like the 1960′s is another form of manipulation.

Kosuke Okahara, freelance photographer

I feel people easily dehumanize the subject or dehumanize photogoraphers themselves to make it more shocking or dramatic by adding photoshop. it’s all about contest, not to tell the story inside the pictures anymore.we are becoming more and more a real ‘exploiter’ of people in the photographs for the sake of ‘WINNING’ contest, recognition or to get famous. sad.

anyways, my answer is yes , if they have Raw file shot with digitally, then they probably should send the original images.

Keith Bedford, freelance photographer

I think that judges should be able to ask for the originals. There have been too many times in the last few years that work has been called into question. Some of that should have been addressed as well as photographers that did honest work as well. It keep the whole process honest.

Here’s the thing. The winning photos are very strong without any Photoshopping. So what is the value of the manipulation? Are judges being seduced by these toned images such that a “flat” image is unconsciously doomed? If so, then I believe the onus is more on the judges than on the photographers. But photojournalists should also be having the same dialog amongst themselves. After all, if you don’t want to be policed, then police yourself.

My proposal:

  • Photographers must provide originals (preferably RAWs) upon request
  • No manipulation can alter the photo more than 20% (e.g. saturation sliders, contrast, opacities)
  • No in-camera “filters” are allowed (this is more and more common)
  • No HDR is allowed

And we should revisit this every two years to make sure its up-to-date, and hopefully gain acceptance from all the major photojournalism contests.

What do you think?

About the author: Allen Murabayashi is the CEO and Co-founder of PhotoShelter. Allen authors PhotoShelter’s free business guides for photographers and marketing professionals, including topics like email marketing, search engine optimization, and starting a photography business. Allen is a graduate of Yale University, and flosses daily. This article originally appeared here.

  • Donovan Rekanize Fannon

    I’m okay with most of your criteria except for the 20% limit on manipulation… Some factors of adjustment are more pronounced than others, and how will you know the exact amounts of deviation from the original file? Unless you require the XMP files as well?

  • destroy_all_humans

    its in poor taste, since there are artistic competitions already photojournalism should free itself from the image manipulations you’ve shown. Otherwise its not photojournalism or street photography, its just photoshop.

  • Adam Gasson

    I think in general photographers would provide RAW files when asked anyway, so the onus is more on the competition or judges to decide when an image needs closer inspection. The first image has clearly been editing heavily, so why didn’t the World Press Photo panel say something? The same can be said of Plowman’s image – I’ll bet the bottom corners aren’t that dark in the original frame.
    There are problems though with imposing digital limits on post processing. I’ve shot different rolls of film through different cameras and processed at different labs and the end results are a world apart. Should we translate this over to digital? Or does digital need completely new guidelines to itself?

  • Red_Eagle

    Demand film, darkroom develop and print, no digital at all.

  • Ian

    Your argument falls down at “develop and print”. If you demanded color reversal film (and that it all went through–I dunno–Dwayne’s) you might have an argument. 

    But digital manipulation and “photoshopping” is not one jot different than developing negative film and printing it. Indicating that it is shows you haven’t thought through how the development and printing process actually works. 

  • Olivier Du Tré

    I strongly disagree. 
    Actually, as long as you are not cloning out people, popping in skies, etc, you are NOT doing anything wrong. If a photographer shows a certain style in his work and he is consistent in it and shows a deep understanding on how he uses it, judges should REWARD him for that. Too much stuff out there is simply bland. News agencies should pay big bucks for people with a specific style. If you would ask me for RAW files, I would gladly provide you with them. BUT if they are to any use to you, that is another question. I am a landscape photographer that is photographing in B&W and yeah I use quite a bit of dodging and burning. Often before and after images are different from each other like day and night.I do understand that photojournalism requires a sense of realism. Fine art photography does not. 

  • Blochi

    I don’t see why image editing is seen as the devil these days.
    Why should a photo contest purposely restrict itself to the past, and judge everything by the standards of analogue photography? Even disqualifying images just because you don’t like the way they are made is discriminating. If the image is bad, it won’t win. If the image is strong, it will. Does it matter if that strong impact is partly due to editing? Hell no. It actually speaks FOR the photographer, because he used the tools available to make the image stronger.

    Where do you draw the line of truthfulness? Should the photographer be forced to also submit a video that pans around the scene, just so you can tell if he used suggestive framing? Should he submit the entire batch of RAW photos, so you can tell if the people portrayed are really in deep thought or just happen to be puzzled for a split second?

    It’s true that there are many badly edited images out there. But they don’t win contests.  There are also many bad non-edited images out there.

  • Kramer206

    By definition, a photography, even raw, DOES NOT represent the “reality”.

    Get over it.

  • Anthony Burokas

    I agree. for Photojournalism, it’s the SUBJECT of the image that is supposed to tell the story, not the “artisticness” of the image. It’s already heavily subjective because the photographer can arrange themselves, frame out elements, other situations, move to include dramatic foreground elements, etc. But to also let them desaturate an image so it looks way more bleak and dusty than it really was, or fiddle with white balance to make it seem more hot and oppressive than the actual situation, is just more manipulation on top of subjectiveness. 

    I’d make unretouched source files an absolute requirement, and THEY would be the subject judged. THe photographer could include an artistic print as well, but that’s not what’s being judges when you are judging photoJOURNALISM. 

  • Pascal Bovet

    I definitely agree with Olivier.. I think most of the photographer edit their image to achieve something.. In landscape and study photography some tuning may be essential to achieve great results.. If the raw material is sh#tty then the end result will most likely not be extraordinary after editing expect you’re an awesome post processor.. And why shouldn’t he win?
    Same here: “No HDR is allowed”.. Do you mean HDR or excessive tone mapping?  Because IMO the best HDRs are those where you can’t see that its a HDR.. 

  • Coyote Red

    “Photojournalism” The ever present debate over “real.” 

    Really, who cares?  I mean when a photo (or video for that matter) is included with a story and the author of that story uses his own personal bias, wittingly or not, to slant the content one way or the other to change what is seen in that photo why should anyone care if there is a little manipulation?

    No, I’m not talking about cloning or subtracting content.  I’m talking about style or presentation.

    We all manipulate the image.  It seems a few folks here take exception to post processing of the photos.

    I pose a question: on the first photograph above, what would you have said if the photographer had used a “real” filter?  You know, like the one I used when I first started playing with cameras.  One could certainly put a mask in front of the lens to produce an identical effect.  I can see that happening because one would want to draw the eye to the subject.  No vignette and one would essentially have a “you’ll shit bricks when you see it” sort of photograph.  Is that “photojournalism?”

    Any old monkey can point a camera and push a button.  It takes someone with an eye to tell a story with a photo.  Who cares if the manipulation was in-camera or post?

    Who here still has a pouch full of filters to throw on the front of their lens?  Is it wrong to use any of them in “photojournalism?”  …even if it’s just a polarizer?

  • Florian Freimoser

    As long as the content of the photograph is not altered (removing, adding or rearranging of objects in the photograph) I find the electronic development acceptable. In my opinion this reflects the taste of the creator.
    I am much more worried about digital images that are clearly not photographs that are considered and appraised as photographs. A very interesting article on that topic was written by Roger Overall on TOP (

    The question as to what should be considered a photograph and what not is not at all trivial! (

  • harumph

    National Geographic requires all of its photographers to submit untouched RAW files. For the photogs who shoot film, NG develops the negatives in house.

    Here’s an interesting article about how they were duped by a subscriber-submitted photo last year:

    Bottom line, NG (and Smithsonian magazine) seem to be far more strict than some photojournalism competitions.

  • Vincent Johnson

    Plain and simple. The shit is getting out of hand.

  • Dave

     This is a comment made by someone who has spent zero time in a darkroom. Digital manipulation tools were born in the darkroom. Even choosing film for color and contrast bias begins your journey to manipulating the final image.

  • Dave

     Interesting article. I don’t know how the image made it as far as it did at Nat Geo. Dog in focus, house behind out of focus, jets in the distance back in focus. Who broke physics?

  • Kyoshinikon

    Im for basic post ass it tells the “story” better (Ie fix white balance, make blacks black and whites white) Id put cropping and vignetting on the thin wire and say it shouldn’t be done but if it doesn’t  interfere with the integrity of the image it is fine (the above example of vignetting was way overdone). Excluding White balance (which is rare and should have been fixed in the camera) color should not be adjusted. I think B&W should be allowed though. 

    People fail to see that photography is a manipulative medium. Something shot at the right moment, selectively composed, at the wrong color setting, and directed can all can misrepresent a subject as post production can.  In addition a still can show details or show a mood that you would not have noticed if you were there. People see acne in portraits because  it is frozen whereas in a video you may not notice it because the face is constantly moving. Sorry but the nature of the medium is just like thatThe answer is already here…  Have everybody submit an original. 

  • -MARS- Photography

    Its very simple… Have requirements that state the level of editing allowed, to keep the playing field level.  I have Been a photographer for nearly 30 years, and have only within the last year begun to dabble in editing. 

    To be completely honest, If you have an idea in mind when capturing the photo, and yet it doesn’t turn out the way you expected it to… you should start over.  I don’t think if there is a prize, any editing aside from full image edits Like Cropping or exposure and white balance should be allowed.

    To put it simply, require a specific program, designed to keep things fair, by only having certain settings adjustable… no more no less… and submissions must be from a RAW file directly submitted through the tunnel to the contest… no “PASSING GO”…

    …But I have not created this software yet… ;)


     I completely agree with your view on HDR, but i’ve heard a different reason used to ban it. It says that since HDR requires taking multiple pictures, it shows different moments in time, which is somewhat contrary to the idea of photojournalism capturing the instant. I’m not saying i agree with that statement, but that’s how i understood it.

  • CJT

    Film photography does not rule out manipulation. Digital photography only makes it easier.

  • CJT

    The examples cited above do not detract from them being photojournalism. The imaging does not mean that they are fakes.

    While you are at it, why don’t you just specify that wide apertures should not be used because they have a narrow DOF and affect a scene’s perception?

  • Tom Carter

    So very, very happy to finally see this issue being debated. Dependence on Photoshop and HDR is the surest sign of a “fauxtographer’s” insecurities in their own abilities. Call me old-school…

  • Andrew

    One thing to consider is this has been done for years – burning and dodging in the darkroom.  One of my favorite photographers was W.Eugene Smith.  One of his besk known photos is of Albert Schweitzer, which he always printed from a copy negative, because, he said, the original negative was too hard to print. 

    It wasn’t until the original negative was found that it was discovered Smith had added the silouette of a saw into the foreground to balance the composition of the photo..

    I’ve seen “straight” work prints of his work, and “final” prints, and the difference is staggering.. but does this make this image, or his work any less significant?

  • Michael

    With absolutely no respect, as I don’t feel any is due, it sounds like you’re bitter.

    If you believe that photos should be submitted as-is OOC, then you’re avocading people being snapshotters, not photographers. Photography, as an artform, as always included heavy levels of processing; before digital it was through contrast control at development time through to dodging and burning in the darkroom, use of graded paper or multigrade filters, and even in extreme cases masking and layered negatives.

    To suggest that processing be limited to 20%, or the exclusion of HDR (which essentially just increases apparent dynamic range and therefore detail) is required, just shows a complete lack of understanding of photography – regardless of the sector.

  • ohno studio

    Just require raw files for entries. The last competition used Lightroom for the viewing anyway, so it’s no big deal. That will really separate the men from the boys ( or gals from the Real Women LOL)

    I hate that so much of this has become a photoshop contest. Let’s focus more on the talent and the story in the contests that involve photojournalism. You don’t need photoshop to see that. 

  • PhotoShelter

    You’re  silly, Michael. I’m not bitter as I don’t enter photo contests. I’m trying to have a discussion about photojournalism contests and the prevalence of heavy post processing in the winners — it’s almost as if it’s a requirement. I’m very aware of darkroom techniques, I’ve seen and studied photo winners from decades past. Let’s not resort to saying I’m ignorant because I expressed a researched position.

  • PhotoShelter

    I don’t believe the man on the tower would win without the vignetting. It’s not that strong an image. So the fact that the post processing made it so is problematic for me. 

    There is obviously an arbitrary line that we must draw in the sand. I happen to be on the more traditional side of the line, but importantly, I’m actually advocating that the major photo contests generate a standard post processing policy for photographers.

  • Just Visiting

    I agree with the suggestion of providing RAW file for competition. Other than competition, I feel that editing is okay. In competition, you have to be fair with the others.

  • Keith Walker

    I think that for any photographic competition, it should be pretty well what comes out of the camera – like colour transparencies. If it’s wrong, do it again! It’s OK to straighten horizons, crop if desired and maybe sharpen but any further manipulation should be under a separate subject anf the original image submitted together with the manipulated image.

    But then maybe I’m old fashioned.

  • 9inchnail

    In photojournalism it’s not always about the “craftsmanship” of a photo. If you’re shooting a scene in manual mode and all of a sudden something happens behind you in a different lighting, the shot, you quickly took might be over- or underexposed. So what now? Trash an amazing shot because you can’t adjust the exposure? You do know that the camera itself manipulates the image. If you shoot a dark scene without adjusting your exposure compensation, the camera will lighten everything up. Trash that photo, too?

  • Guest

    I generally agree with this article. Just one dumb questions from me: If there’s to be only minimal post processing, then why would they be shooting RAW?

  • Dave

     If you capture an image with Kodachrome 64 and another of the same subject, same time, lighting etc on Velvia 50 (the original Velvia), you will end up with 2 very different images. Kodachrome has a very accurate palette. Photographers used Velvia as the first stage in ‘manipulating’ their images, with its punchy color, years before Photoshop showed up. Now what are you going to do with your transparency submissions?

  • Willlspiers

    The man on the wire could have been a dodging affect.
    The portrate is not Doco its a portrate.
    The kid with the (cows?) Could be the light and atmosferic effects, exposed, developed, prossed or printed that way or evan be a bad roll of film.

    In my opinion is if you can do it in the dark foom then you can do it in PS (within limits of coarse).

    Judges shold not let PS push an image in to first place or higer in genral.

    Maybe 1 pont of for over manipulated images. That way a shot can onley win if its exceptionaly better.

  • Mute

    RAW files are designed to be ‘blank’ images, the intention is that they will be processed to add contrast, colour, and exposure tweaks. You can’t compare RAW files to film negatives or positives. While seeing the RAW file might give you insight into what was done to the image it is not the same as viewing a source negative. With film there are many variations in tone, contrast and colour that are applied (of course) at the moment of exposure. Within reason those kinds of ‘manipulations’ are fully acceptable, photographers have used all different kinds of film/camera combinations, and recently some photojournalists have been using ‘vintage’ gear like Holgas, that will predictably effect the end image.

    Post-processing is part of film as well of course. Decisions made during processing effect the images and many of the effects in Photoshop are based on dark room techniques.

    So, is vignetting applied to a RAW file any different to the selection of a Holga because of its propensity to vignette? The difference is between effects applied at the time of exposure and those afterwards. I don’t know where the line is but I think if one is acceptable then the other should be too.

  • Coyote Red

    One of the points I was trying to make is what’s the difference between in-camera and post-processing in such a photograph?

    I wouldn’t say I’m against providing the original file and prohibiting manipulation of objects in the scene (like cloning or removing).  I disagree with the notion of not allowing adjustments that make the image stronger.

    One can manipulate the image greatly before shutter is released, why not after?

  • Matt Needham

    Is it too much to ask that occasionally photographers study history and process?  Only rubes think photographs equal truth or reality.  It’s art.  Art is manipulation.

    “It is rather amusing, this tendency of the wise to regard a print which has been locally manipulated as irrational photography – this tendency which finds an esthetic tone of expression in the word faked. A MANIPULATED print may be not a photograph. The personal intervention between the action of the light and the print itself may be a blemish on the purity of photography. But, whether this intervention consists merely of marking, shading and tinting in a direct print, or of stippling, painting and scratching on the negative, or of using glycerine, brush and mop on a print, faking has set in, and the results must always depend upon the photographer, upon his personality, his technical ability and his feeling. BUT long before this stage of conscious manipulation has been begun, faking has already set in. In the very beginning, when the operator controls and regulates his time of exposure, when in dark-room the developer is mixed for detail, breadth, flatness or contrast, faking has been resorted to. In fact, every photograph is a fake from start to finish, a purely impersonal, unmanipulated photograph being practically impossible. When all is said, it still remains entirely a matter of degree and ability.” -Edward Steichen, from Alfred Steiglitz’s Camera Work 1, 1903.

  • Veston Didonato

    I got mad at my friend once because he post-processed his concert pictures.  Personally, I think that pictures should stand as-shot.  If you get it right the first time, you’re doing it right.  If you require photoshop to make your picture worthwhile, you may want to look into graphic design as a new path.  Let the pictures speak for themselves, as-captured.  

  • NPT Photog

    A lot of photographers suck at using Photoshop, Lightroom or one of their may photo plug-ins and are I think they would rather complain then learn how to work in the modern digital darkroom.  What happens in the future when cameras allow a huge amount of manipulation done directly in the camera, with photoshop-esk filters?  Will these cameras be banned?  When I alter my photos it’s to make up for things the camera is lacking.  Is there noise in real life?  I think not, so when I use a noise reduction filter and the photo now looks closer to reality is this wrong? 

  • Sofa0ne

    I think to focus on just post process tweaking is wrong.

    Sure editing in post is the easiest to catch but lets not forget what might be happening on scene.  
    Would they consider a staged photo, perhaps the use of a polarizing filter, using a long exposure to compress time, having a larger lens hood that causes vignette,    using a flash or adding light, using any lens that is greater or wider than normal vision and distorting the perspective. 
    All these things in post can be done on the front end easily enough. 
    Do we consider them manipulation too?  What degree of scrutiny do we want to use?  Is trusting the subjective judging done by a selection of judges really all that important in the end.  I could careless about contest rules but do understand wanting to have the truth not distorted in the images that tell a story but I have the understanding that in the end we are judging the result of a two dimensional photo that is representing a small segment of time in our three dimensional world is already far from accurate and that not everything we see in photography is 100% pure truth.  

  • Danielgballard

    How about this-A contest is put on that is RAW files only. No manipulation allowed at all.  I’d enter that in a NY minute.

  • Andréé Pinto

    Many people here miss the point of this article, it’s not about photo manipulation in photography in general, there is nothing wrong in using photoshop or whatever in your artistic photos, it’s your point of view and method of expression.
    This article is about photojournalism, and the word journalism makes ALL the difference, it’s about letting others know the reality, sharing an image as it is, without your opinion or taste in it!

    If you are a radio voice in the royal wedding you simply don’t say the prince is in shorts just because you like shorts over pants, you simply don’t say that the queen’s hat is tall instead of flat because it looks better to you as you don’t say the wedding dress is pink instead of white because you like pink..

    Photojournalism is not opinion making nor politic commenting not even art as other types of photography, its a league of its own. just my 2 cents..

  • Byron Edwards

    Photography would become a dismal field if everybody had to adhere to rules (in competition or not).

    Judges should decide on what’s acceptable for a particular comp. The extreme end of the argument would say no to black and white as that’s not a natural representation either.

    Anyone who worked before digital came about knows the value of a good printer, both black and white or colour. Photographers teamed up with printers so as to have better interpretations of their work than a ‘standard’ print would give.

    Jog on…

  • schmalpal

    This would put JPEG shooters at an unfair advantage, with their ability to permanently bake white balance, saturation, desaturation, contrast, sharpness, tint, highlight recovery, noise reduction, and vignetting correction into their “original” image file.
    Hell, this puts FILM shooters at an advantage too, since they can choose a super-saturated film like Velvia, for example.
    Why should a RAW shooter be penalized for doing all this in the digital darkroom rather than in the camera itself? Who’s to say the RAW shooter didn’t have a certain processing vision in mind when they snapped the shutter?
    Taking it a bit further with the vignetting specifically cited by the article, why should one only be able to add vignetting with a lens that darkens 3-4 stops in the corners? What if you shoot digital but can’t afford a full-frame camera, and thus can’t get extreme “natural” vignetting on your crop body, even when using crop lenses? Why is it that the line is drawn at the time you press the shutter?
    This idea just inherently favors people with certain equipment and workflow – and generally those who care less about the final result, at that.

  • Dave

     Thanks for this. It is well said. And to be coming from such a historical time cannot be construed as someone with a digital darkroom agenda. Those people that are calling digital manipulation  voodoo are certainly brand new photographers that have never really experienced the way a traditional silver print is created start to finish.

  • Dave

     Who are you to judge other peoples art? Would you tell Dali that clocks aren’t supposed to melt? Would you chastise Ansel Adams because he added a moon in the darkroom to an image that had no moon? Maybe you can allow your friend his freedom of expression and you choose your own path.

  • Dave


  • Ralf

    Eliminate all black & white pictures taken in the late 60s/70/80s of the late century and erase your mind from b&w pictures at all, saigon on kodak looked different developed with hc-110 or any other developer. Who cared? The picture was the story.

    I bet, the first version of the AP wirephoto of Eddie Adams was a poor print due to the situation of the original picture. Later prints look much better in case of saturationWho raised a question about the Vietnam pictures, being black & white?Although we live in a colored world?Ilford HP5 looked different than Fuji Neopan 400/1600, nobody complained…Salgado pictures won prizes because the photos were good and post-processing was done in the darkroom, with the same devices you nowadays have with lightroom, aperture etc.

    Salgado now uses filters of DxO to emulate the film “effect” with digital cameras

    I photographed Carl Lewis during the 1996 Olympics using a long shutter speed. Of course nobody saw the event like pictured. But is this a journalistic fraud?

    Digital photography itself alters images, even if you shoot RAW files because the lens creates another image view (chromatic abberation, vignetting, distortion) and the photographers, even the most concerned about this theme, edit !

    Look at a picture of a Nikon D3S with the 14-24 or a picture of a Canon 5D2 with 16-35/2.8 L II…before and after lens correction

    What is the truth, what is faked?

    I wish, my english was better to explain my thoughts.

    Best regards to all

  • newamericanclassic

    post-processing is part of the process, it takes a skill of its own and should not be discredited. but RAW files should be provided to check for actual photomanipulation; the extreme vignetting is a little tacky, but if the man was photoshopped in that would be an entirely different story.

    it’s a photographer’s loss if they refuse, or don’t know how, to use editing programs. also, their loss if they lack self-control and HDR the crap out of everything. what’s aesthetically pleasing is what captures my attention.

  • Ralf

    Pictures of embedded photojournalists define a new art of photojournalism. Pictures of  coffins of US soldiers are strictly prohibited and people get fined if they publish them.
    Embedded journalists are more the problem than an HDR, Lightroom and post processing.

    No pictures of the embedded journalists are picturing the real situations..despite their name or history…embedded photographers are pressrelation consecutives more than individual critical photojournalists.
    I admired the work of a lot of war photojournalists in the past, because the showed us another reality, printed/shown in the media.I don’t care about the darkened borders of a man climbing a house in China. I accept it as an artsy view of a situation really that occurred.Highly acclaimed magazines like Sports Illustrated are showing pictures of athletes biting in their medals at the victory ceremony.After a bunch of 50+ photographer yelled at them to do so…is that a news picture?downright ridiculous…Best regardsRS

  • Student

    Just give me a camera that takes photos as my eye sees it. I hate post processing all the time.