The Sacramento Bee has suspended award-winning staff photographer Bryan Patrick after it was discovered that he had Photoshopped two photographs of an egret eating a frog into a single photo. The newspaper, which is the 5th largest in California and the 25th largest in the US, says that the manipulation was done to make the frog more visible while still showing a second bird lunging for it. NPPA president Sean Elliot labeled the case a “betrayal”:
If this photographer in Sacramento can diddle around with a photograph of an egret, how can I know that any photograph I look at is trustworthy? It feels like a betrayal. [...] It violates a feeling of trust I think we have with all of our members.
The case is reminiscent of LA Times reporter Brian Walski’s infamous splicing of Iraq war photographs (though the subject matter is nowhere near as divisive).
(via SacBee via News 10 via Poynter)
Image credits: Photographs by Bryan Patrick/The Sacramento Bee
The Washington Post raised some eyebrows last Friday after running an uber-saturated front page photo with the caption stating that it was “a composite created by taking several photos and combining them with computer software to transcend the visual limitations of standard photography.” After emailing the photo editor, Poynter learned that the image was simply an HDR photograph. While it’s a pretty common technique these days, some believe that it has no place in photojournalism,
Sean Elliot, president of the National Press Photographers Association, said, “HDR is not appropriate for documentary photojournalism.” The organization’s code of ethics say photographers should respect the integrity of the digital moment, “and in that light an HDR photo is no different from any other digital manipulation.”
“By using HDR,” he told me by email, “The Washington Post has combined different moments, and thereby created an image that does not exist. The aircraft visible in the final product was not there for all the other moments combined into the final, and that alone simply raises too many questions about the factual validity of the actual published image.” [#]
What complicates matters is that many new cameras (e.g. Nikon D4, Apple iPhone 4S) offer HDR features that create single images from multiple exposures in the camera. The Washington Post published a response to the controversy yesterday. Do you think HDR is an appropriate technique for photojournalists to use?
(via The Washington Post via Poynter)
Image credits: Screenshot from The Washington Post, and photograph by Bill O’Leary
Adobe caused a stir last November after changing its upgrade policy to only cover one version back instead of three. This meant that only Photoshop CS5 owners would qualify for the upgrade price on CS6 when it’s launched, leaving CS3 and CS4 owners the not-so-nice option of buying the CS5 upgrade before buying the CS6 one. Perhaps in response to the angry customer response, Adobe announced a “special offer” for CS3 and CS4 owners today:
[...] we want to make sure our customers have plenty of time to determine which offering is best for them. Therefore, we’re pleased to announce that we will offer special introductory upgrade pricing on Creative Suite 6 to customers who own CS3 or CS4. This offer will be available from the time CS6 is released until December 31, 2012.
We’ll find out just how much of a discount those users will receive once CS6 is released. It also appears that Adobe isn’t planning to restore the old upgrade policy — today’s announcement is more of a one-time fix for angry customers.
(via Adobe via John Nack)
Image credit: Adobe Creative Sweet CS5 by pcfishhk
News photo agencies EPA, AFP, and Reuters have all issued kill orders for a photo of Kim Jong-il’s funeral procession released by the Korean Central News Agency, the state news agency of North Korea. The photo (above at bottom) raised red flags after a comparison with a Kyodo News photo taken just seconds earlier revealed that a number of people had vanished from the scene. The New York Times writes,
A side-by-side comparison of the full images does point to a possibly banal explanation: totalitarian aesthetics. With the men straggling around the sidelines, a certain martial perfection is lost. Without the men, the tight black bands of the crowd on either side look railroad straight.
Perhaps it was a simple matter of one person gilding the lily.
Consumer affairs blog The Consumerist caused a stir earlier this week by offering the following advice to people looking to earn some extra cash for the holidays:
Become a photographer. Most photographers will tell you that persistence is at least as important as skill in creating great work. If you know people who are looking to take portraits or holding a social function, offer to shoot it for free and sell them the pictures if they like them.
Needless to say, the suggestion caused quite an angry response from actual photographers, who equated the tip with telling people to buying a hammer in order to become an independent contractor. Stan Horaczek over at PopPhoto has also written up a lengthy response. It looks like people are taking Missy’s advice quite seriously.
Ideas On Scraping Up Extra Cash For The Holidays (via PopPhoto)
Image credit: Day 270/365 – Too Many Cameras by Great Beyond
Clothing retailer H&M has sparked quite a bit of controversy after admitting that most of the models featured on its website are computer generated. The company says that pasting real model heads onto CGI bodies provides a better way of displaying clothes made for humans than using real humans to model them. Spokeswoman Nicole Christine tells ABC News:
This technique can be found in use throughout the industry. This is not to be seen as conveying a specific ideal or body type, but merely a technique to show our garments.
It is regrettable if we have led anyone to believe that the virtual mannequins should be real bodies. This is incorrect and has never been our intention. We will continue to discuss internally how we can be clearer about this in the information towards our customers.
Although the identical poses and proportions are hard to overlook, the company does match the skin tones of the bodies to the faces quite well, making the ‘shopped nature of individual photos difficult to detect.
(via Jezebel via kottke.org)
CNN created quite a stir yesterday after laying off a dozen photojournalists due to the rise of citizen journalism and the availability of cameras. Here’s a humorous response to the story by Stephen Colbert, who gives us a glimpse into the “uncompensated future of news”.
Thanks for the tip, Eduardo!
Last week we reported that starting with Adobe CS6, only people who own the previous major release of the software (i.e. CS5 and above) will be eligible for upgrade pricing. Needless to say, Photoshop users are’t too happy about the changes, and now National Association of Photoshop Professionals president Scott Kelby is weighing in. In an open letter to Adobe, he writes,
While I understand that Adobe needs to make business decisions based on how it sees market conditions, I feel the timing of this new pricing structure is patently unfair to your customers (and our members). Here’s why: You didn’t tell us up front. You didn’t tell us until nearly the end of the product’s life cycle, and now you’re making us buy CS5.5 for just a few months on the chance that we might want to buy CS6 at a discount when it’s released. Otherwise, we have to pay the full price as if we were never Adobe customers at all.
Kelby also makes a plea for Adobe to either start the new policy with CS7 or to offer a tiered upgrade structure in which upgrade price is based on how recent your version is. That definitely makes more sense than having CS4 users pay full price to upgrade to CS6.
An Open Letter To Adobe Systems [Scott Kelby]
Here are some developments in the ongoing Olympus scandal: investors and a former director are currently calling for fired CEO Michael Woodford to be brought back to clean house and right the ship. At the same time, The New York Times is reporting that Japanese investigators are still trying to understand a $4.9 billion hole in Olympus’ financial records, and believe that over half of that amount were paid to organized crime groups in Japan. More specifically, the company is accused of being linked to Yamaguchi-Gumi, the country’s most infamous yazuka organization.
Back in September we shared the story of Teresa Berg, a photographer who volunteers her time to take professional quality adoption photos for dogs in shelters. Sadly, similar efforts to save dogs through photography aren’t always encouraged. A woman named Emily Tanen was fired from Animal Care and Control of New York City back in May for her photos of dogs scheduled to be euthanized. Her crime? Violating the group’s strict photo policy, which includes a rule prohibiting showing humans in photos. The New York Times writes,
When she started working at Care and Control, Ms. Tanen said, she believed that the animals were photographed poorly and that the images failed to convey the warmth of a potential pet.
With her art background from her studies, Ms. Tanen decided she could do a better job with her $1,500 Nikon.
[...] Ms. Tanen said she tried to comply with the rules, but sometimes felt her judgment trumped her superiors’. She continued to show people’s hands touching a dog, even after receiving a warning against doing so. “I think they just didn’t want photos of animals that they were about to kill looking cute and adoptable and happy with people, but they said it was because their research showed that photos with people didn’t encourage people to adopt,” she said.
You can see some more of Tanen’s photographs here (be warned: they show humans).
Fired From a Shelter After Photographing the Animals (via Gizmodo)