Skip to comments.News photography and Photoshop
Posted on 08/09/2006 6:21:22 AM PDT by COUNTrecount
Editors note: Reuters.com asked Gary Hershorn, News Pictures Editor for North America, to discuss some of the tools photojournalists have used in the past and what they use now to produce pictures. On Monday, Reuters withdrew all 920 photographs by a freelance Lebanese photographer from its database after a review showed he had altered two images. You can see the images and reactions from readers here. Reuters, also the publisher of this report, tightened procedures for photographs from the conflict between Israel and the armed group Hizbollah and apologized for the case. You can read the companys statement here. You can send a comment to Hershorn from the link below and read his interview with NPR today here)
News photographers routinely process images using Adobe Photoshop software. But there has been a basic premise in the world of photojournalism that what was allowed in making prints in the pre-digital days of darkrooms is all that is acceptable today.
Back in the days of the darkroom, we used very basic tools to develop prints. In black and white printing, the contrast of a picture was controlled by a papers grade. The higher the number of the paper, the higher the contrast. In the wire agency darkooms Ive worked in, we typically used grades 3,4 and 5. We allowed dodge and burn to lighten or darken areas. A dodge tool was made by taping a small piece of cardboard the size of a quarter onto a paper clip. A burn tool was a piece of cardboard the size of an 8×10 sheet of paper with a hole in the center. If a print had dust spots caused by a dirty negative, we used Spotone, a photographic paint that was dabbed onto a print with a very fine paint brush to eliminate the unsightly marks.
One other tool that was allowed when printing color pictures was changing color balance. This was done by placing filters between the light source of the enlarger and the paper that the image was being printed on.
When we moved to scanning negatives and then to shooting digital, we began using Photoshop. This program allows us to do the same things we did in the darkroom. Changes in contrast, dodging and burning and color balance are now done with software. The most controversial tool in Photoshop that we use is the cloning tool. The only accepted use of this tool is to clear dust from the image. We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to using the cloning tool to change content, and by that we mean removing something that exists in a photo, moving or replicating it or adding to a photo.
The tools we use in Photoshop are levels, curves and saturation for changing contrasts; and, color balance to bring the image back to the way the natural eye would see the color. Here is what we tell our photographers in the Handbook of Reuters Journalism.
Photoshop is a highly sophisticated image manipulation programme. We use only a tiny part of its potential capability to format our pictures, crop and size them and balance the tone and colour. For us it is a presentational tool.
The rules are no additions or deletions, no misleading the viewer by manipulation of the tonal and colour balance to disguise elements of an image or to change the context.
Photoshop is a powerful image processing program with many more tools to help photographers produce the best quality image they can for the type of photography they do. There is not a Photoshop program for use by news photographers and another for advertising, where image-changing is tolerated. What we in the news photo community need to regulate is what tools are used for photojournalism and what are not.
Tourist guy isn't in the scene.
Feel free to add to the list.
Photoshop or not... You make the call.
A stroll down Memory Lane?
The disturbing make believe photos from this disturbing make believe event are shown below. Dont allow children under the age of 30 to view this horror caused by Israel. Of course, this is Bush's fault.
No Problem! Here comes your Bomb!
"What we in the news photo community need to regulate is what tools are used for photojournalism and what are not."
Since we can no longer foist easily detected manipulations on an unsuspecting public.
Isn't it amazing how quickly some people get "ethics"...AFTER THEY'VE BEEN CAUGHT!
If you set a faked scene well enough, you don't need photoshop.
That photo of the green helmet dude with the pancake on his head is AWESOME! LOL
There are so many examples we forget them all.
Not to speak of the CNN black X over Cheney's face.
Which wasn't fotoshopping. Just adolescent vitriol.
We have such great graphic arts Freepers.
The left had better pray that we don't buy out some dying pseudo news company. If we did, they would be faced with these disturbing pictures 24/7.
On a more serious note. I have it on good authority that the Washington Post took photoshop off their photographers' laptops and replaced it with photoshop elements in an attempt to limit what they could do in the field.
You are VERY talented...Reuters and AP will be calling you.
I just steal er borrow the talent from others.
However, I'm sending a resume to Rooters, AP, AFP, ABCNNBCBS, and the NY Slimes. It says that I will lie, photoshop or stage photos to embarrass Israel and the US.
A photographer who doesn't own a copy of PS isn't worthy to be called a professional. It's as essential a tool in digital photography as a camera and lens. The WaPo may dictate what is on their company laptops, but there is no way in which that would limit their photographer's access, if desired at any time.
I would like someone to tell me where to go to learn how to do this. I have Photoshop CS plus 10 grankids. Since they live literally from the Atlantic to the Pacific, we rarely get together as a family en masse. I'd like to get pictures of each and put them together.
Make sure to print up your resume here.
This is why I like to link up with Free Republic and have a couple of cups of coffee in the morning with the real news and some great laughs.
In most papers it is a firing offense to load any unauthorized software on a company computer. They have access to Photoshop, but only in the office (or at home). Deadlines require most daily shooters to work on their company laptops in the field (i.e. Starbucks) and file electronically.
This is a hot button issue among photojournalists. There is constant debate over where to draw the line. The Reuters case was blatant, but there have been cases in the US among staffers as well. The most famous was the LA Times photog in Iraq, but a photographer from Charlotte, NC was just fired for embellishing a news photo from a fire.
The focus on photoshop really distracts from the bigger issues of bias. Journalists allow themselves to be willing propagandists when they agree with their subjects and only become pitbulls when they dislike the subject. The same is true in photojournalism. The setup shots from Qana are far worse than clumsy cloning -- yet AP, Reuters and other services defend their handling of the hezbollah agitprop photo-op.
Hezbollah stage manages every aspect of Lebanese coverage, yet the debate in journalism is about the ethics of being embedded with US troops.
A local camera store such as a Cord or Roberts, that sells high end equipment and only photographic equipment, usually have classes on digital photography and probably cover such editing tools.
You are so bad!
(HORRID GASH/NO BLOOD-at least they've started plastering the bodies in dust more evenly)
Apparently, others have noticed the similarities in the two photographers' work. The Jawa Report cites these two "different" images by the two different photographers:
Awe heck, maybe it's just a typo...
The name of the band should be something like "Lee Oswald and the Cleanup Crew"
This is pure Reuters damage control.
This is 100% BS. She is glossing over the OTHER aspects of photoshop.
IT IS NOT A MERE COLOR BALANCE TOOL.
This is about altering the image.
There is absolutly no reason at all to trust Reuters. I am completly stuned at the hypocracy of the Mediots in circling the waggons to protect Reuters at the expence of their credibility.
If you see reuters now it is a seal of fakery.
Where are the pics of that dead baby they carried from site to site for a week? Those are the worst.
We allowed dodge and burn to lighten or darken areas. A dodge tool was made by taping a small piece of cardboard the size of a quarter onto a paper clip. A burn tool was a piece of cardboard the size of an 8×10 sheet of paper with a hole in the center.
If I read that correctly, the alterations in both your examples are A-OK with al-Reuters.
They would loose is curves and the ability to use plug-ins.. Still can use the clone stamp tool and layers. I use PSE 4.0 myself.
That's too funny!
These pics just came in. Are they the same dead baby? The face is (deliberately?) concealed.
No, the ones I'm referring to are different. Maybe some FReeper will post them.
Ironic it's of a scene two blocks from Reuters HQ in times square.