Friday, May 22, 2009

Lessons in "Reality" and Photojournalism

This week's topic for JN134-Photojournalism was "Law & Ethics," and it just so happens that we discussed several of the examples included in a post on 10,000 Words.

The photos provided a great starting point for an engaging discussion of ethics, Photoshop and decision-making. Specifically, we talked about the National Geographic image in which the staff "moved" the pyramids; TIME and it's portrayal of a "more menacing" O.J. Simpson (as if the touch-up was needed); and the L.A. Times soldier photo from Iraq.

My students were surprised that professionals would so cavalierly alter these images, and wondered why they were surprised by the strong reaction once the truth was told. When I asked them whether they thought the retouching offenses were serious enough to warrant those resonsible being fired, their response spoke volumes: "Well, duh!"

It gives me hope for the next generation of journalists, many of whom seem to "get it" when it comes to ethics.



Kent said...

I am quite surprised by your students' reaction. I would have thought that most folks, especially younger folks, would take it for granted that images are manipulated like crazy. I remember reading an article about a photo shoot of some young beauty for the TV Guide Cover. $50,000 was spent to make a beautiful young woman look even more beautiful. It included lots of money for photo retouching.

Adam's Blog said...

I happen to be one of the students and I must say that a picture is just best used when it is original and untouched save for a little sharpening or cropping....It just feels like when someone manipulates a photo they are trying to lie to us and we dont like to be lied to or decieved in an effort to change the way we view something.....I want to have my own thought and idea about it....THANX