Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Image Manipulation

Roger Tooth, Head of Photogaphy at the Guardian, has written a short piece about image manipulation and journalism. He argues that context is key and that, for example, a picture of the Duchess of Cambridge, used on the cover of Grazia, in which her partner's arm was removed and replaced by a cloned copy of her own right arm, is acceptable because it is pure 'illustration'; it would not, however, be permissible in a the context of a news story. He suggests that practices which were routine in a darkroom, such as cropping and toning, are broadly acceptable but that the moving of pixels or "cutting and pasting" is absolutely not. However, he explains that picture editors are increasingly reliant on trust and that readers are increasingly alert to attempts to deceive, eg, the recent picture of President Assad of Syria swearing in the new governor who seems to be strangely floating above the carpet.
The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton on the Grazia cover on 9 May (left) and the original image (right). Photograph: Grazia/Getty Images
A Syrian state agency photo of the president swearing in the newly appointed governor of Hama is suspected of being a cut-and-paste job. Photograph: AP
For further examples of image manipulation, see Photo Tampering throughout History.

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