This past week, BP has received a lot of attention for its release of “official” images that later turned out to be very poorly photoshopped. So far, three badly altered photos have been called out. Aside from the inevitable backlash and disappointment from the public, the photo has taken on a life of its own as an internet meme. People have been adapting their own versions of the helicopter scene, replete with geek jokes and bizarre photoshopping. Here’s one amusing example: Read more…
The most recent fuel for resentment towards BP comes from a doctored photo of the company’s crisis center in Houston. America blog’s John Aravosis made the connection when he examined a hi-resolution version of the photo, which was displayed prominently on the BP website. All this comes after BP promised for increased transparency between the company and the public.
Fine art photographer Jane Fulton Alt has made a series of images commenting on the effect of the Gulf oil spill on Americans. The photos, in her collection “Crude Awakening,” are eerie and still portraits of swimmers and beach-goers drenched in oil. Some of her past work includes a chilling and intimate look at the devastation left behind by Hurricane Katrina in her book Look and Leave.
Also, like much of her work, Alt’s portraits aim to make a powerful statement. Alt says:
Living on the shores of Lake Michigan, I am acutely aware of the disastrous toll the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has taken on all forms of life, especially as our beaches opened to the 2010 swimming season. This environmental, social and economic catastrophe highlights a much larger problem that has inflicted untold suffering as we exploit the earth’s resources worldwide.
We are all responsible for leading lives that create demand for unsustainable energy.
We are also all responsible for the solution and we must work together to protect the balance of life.
There’s an increasingly overwhelming sense of frustration coming from the Gulf region, but this time, it’s coming from photographers and journalists. Media access has been tough since the beginning of the oil spill, whether on land, on beaches, or in the air. According to a new safety zone rule passed down from the US government, reporters and photographers are not allowed within 20 meters of booms, boom operations, and other cleanup activities, except with the express permission of the US Coast Guard. CNN’s Anderson Cooper reports that the limit was originally 300 feet, but it was reduced to 65 feet.
But to complicate matters, under the new rule, anyone found “willfully” in violation of the rule would be fined $40,000 and charged with a Class D felony. Class D felonies typically carry a jail sentence. The law especially affects photographers in the area who need to be on site in order to properly cover the events.
The Economist is in hot water after running an extremely edited photograph of President Obama on a Louisiana beach. The cover photo shows Obama alone on the beach. But the original photo, taken by Reuters photographer Larry Downing, shows that Obama was, in fact, not alone at all.
The altered image crops out Admiral Thad W. Allen of the Coast Guard, but also goes an extra step to completely omit the presence of Charlotte Randolph, a Louisiana parish president (perhaps with Photoshop CS5′s content-aware fill).
This is a huge problem because The Economist’s omissions entirely change the tone of the image in order to make Obama appear alone, hanging his head, when in fact he is likely looking down at the beach while in conversation with the two people next to him. Additionally, according to journalism ethics, news photos should not be altered, especially to this extent.