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Altered Image, Vanished Trust: Photojournalism in the Age of Digital Manipulation

Page history last edited by Paul Nicholas Santos 6 years, 7 months ago

Title of the Essay:  

     Altered Image, Vanished Trust: Photojournalism in the Age of Digital Manipulation, Karen Dybis, October 2, 2015 

 

Title of the Reflection:  

     Digital Illusion 

 

First Impression:  

     I think that this article is talking about how photos are altered to fit or to please the owner or the customer without looking at the consequences of their actions or thinking that what they are doing is a wrong thing to do.  

 

Quote:  

     “A photo cannot be changed digitally in any way other than cropping it for size for it to be considered true, accurate and fair to the viewer.” 

 

Reflection Proper:  

     Although the concept of a camera has been with us for hundreds of years, our civilization has used the concept of preserving certain points in time through works of art, like drawing or painting for example. During the course of our history and as our technology progressed, we were then able to capture a moment in time in a piece of paper, which is called a photograph.  

     There are two paths that part ways from the act of taking photographs: one would be the art of photography and the second one would be the media related, which is photojournalism. The main difference between the two, in relation to the topic, would be the eligibility of altering a photograph to suit the needs of the photographer.  

     On the side of the art of taking photographs, it is allowed to alter photographs; however, there are certain times wherein it is not allowed, like photography competitions since the point of the competition would be the essence of the picture without any alterations. Other than that, artists are free to alter their photos. The point of this would be to bring out what the artist wants to show or tell. There are times in which the artist needs the use of alteration in order to achieve their objective. 

     On the other hand, on the side of photojournalism, altering a photo would be one of the worst things that a journalist or photojournalist can do. The reason for this would be the essence of the job that they have. Journalism is all about reporting factual events, like the presidential elections for example. People rely on the media to update them with the current events. Once a media outlet, like a newspaper for example, changes a story, the credibility of the said media outlet is diminished; thus, it loses its credibility to give factual updates to the people and, in turn, the people won’t follow them. Eventually, it will lead to the demise of the said media outlet. The same process is also applicable for journalists or photojournalists who altered their story, may it be on any form of media, like newspapers, television, radio, internet, etc.… 

     Looking at it on an ethical standpoint, altering a photo to make a news cover that goes with their cause would be focusing on one’s own interests over the truth. Doing the said act might be to further feed a certain group’s point-of-view or influence but justifying their acts for the betterment of society is blatantly wrong.  It may be acceptable to their culture or society; however, the said act is not acceptable and if we don’t do anything about it now it will further escalate from one generation to another. As time passes by, it will be harder for us to correct such an erroneous way of thinking and they will simply justify their acts based on their culture, which is the hardest problem to correct. The best way for us to correct the said erroneous way of thinking or act would be to start early and to point it out as a wrong thing to do when a person is at the early stages of their life or career.   

 

5 Things I’ve learned:  

  1. The difference between photography and photojournalism is that photography is an art; thus, it free for the artists to alter the photos that they have, with the exception of competitions that hinder them from using Photoshop. 
  2. Altering photos in photojournalism is a thing right now. Since the emergence of photography, there are issues wherein photojournalists alter the image they are showing the masses in the articles that they make; thus, they are altering the information they are sharing from the actual thing that happened.  
  3. Altering photos in photography competitions is rampant. Competitors who do this would like to have an edge against their competitors by altering the image they pass in order to make it unusual in comparison to other competitors. 
  4. The meaning behind "setting-up a photo" means that a photographer doesn't have to make or to set-up an instance of what really happened, like reenacting the whole scene for the picture. 
  5. There is a trust rating for photographs. Dr. Hany Farid a system named Izitru to test if a photo is authentic or not – if the photo was altered in any way or not. 

 

5 Integrative Questions:  

  1. Is there a way for us to universally apply the trust rating on every photo we see? 
  2. If there is a way for us to apply the said trust rating, how are we going to apply it? 
  3. Are there consequences for altering photos in the media, like ads for example? 
  4. What are the steps to take in order for us to know if a photo is altered or not? 
  5. Are there ways for us to better enforce or improve on the ethics applied to the media? 

 

There are 917 words in this paper.

 

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