There have been several controversies surrounding award-winning photography of late. First there was photographer Harry Fisch, who had his Nat Geo Photo Contest award stripped for cloning out a bag. Then Magnum photographer Paolo Pellegrin’s ethics were called into question when he was accused of misrepresenting the subject of his award-winning photo.
And now another controversy has come to our attention, this one revolving around the photo above, taken by Washington Post staff photographer Tracy Woodward. The above photo was the version that was submitted to and won the White House News Photographers Association’s (WHNPA) ‘Eyes of History’ stills photo contest, but not before it was significantly manipulated in Photoshop. Read more…
In one of the first major tests of intellectual property law involving social media services, a judge has ruled that news agencies cannot freely publish photographs posted to Twitter without the photographer’s permission.
Afghan photographer Massoud Hossaini won the Putlizer Prize yesterday for his Breaking News photo showing a 12-year-old girl screaming after a suicide bombing in Kabul. His images of the mosque attack were so powerful that the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal all published them on their front pages on December 7, 2011. However, each one ran a different image captured at the scene, and only the New York Times ran the Pulitzer Prize-winning shot that showed the full extent of the carnage. Shortly afterward, The Washington Post interviewed the photo editors at each paper to discuss why they chose the images (and the crops) they did.
The Post, NYT and WSJ show same scene of Kabul carnage via different photos (via Poynter)
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
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.