Steve McCurry's Photoshop Pitfall: an ethical case?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by lar, May 1, 2016.

  1. Steve McCurry exhibited recently near Turin (Italy). A photographer carefully watched one of his 6-foot prints from a recent documentary of Cuba and noticed some evident rearrangements of the background with obvious mistakes, for example a yellow pole coming out of the leg of a passer-by, which was not cleaned up properly or other cloning faults.
    A more careful analysis ensued and it became clear that good Steve, or more probably his printing team, had messed up with the original photo, with the intent to rearrange some details beyond control of the photographer at the moment of the take.
    Some questions arise:
    • is it just an unprofessional processing of digitale images?
    • should McCurry have kept a stricter control over the details of the final production of his images?
    • should McCurry have briefed his technical crew more accurately?
    • should McCurry have made a clear public statement about the degree of post processing his images undergo?
    • is there a breach of trust between McCurry and the statements he makes and his viewers? Can he, as the ultimate responsible for his images, be accused of faking? Does this behaviour become an ethical case?
     
  2. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    I sense from your questions a sense of outrage that Mr McCurry is having his pictures manipulated . I don't share it. If the product is a print that you see before you buy it, it really doesn't matter whether the original is exactly the same or not. No- one is being misled if a piece of insignificant background is cloned in or out. It is fair I think to suggest that as the author of the print Mr McCurry should satisfy himself that post processing gas been carried out to a high standard - but that's because he should want not to look bad, not because of an ethical issue.
    There are some circumstances in which post-processing amendments should be spelled out- but if as you suggest this is nothing more than a clumsy attempt to tidy up a distracting background , I don't think this is one of them.
     
  3. Just to clarify: I have no sense of outrage at all, on the contrary.
    All I have is a genuine interest in knowing people's opinions on this issue, comparing it to the clamor it has raised in some environments.
    Just food for thought. Thank you for responding.
     
  4. Without having all or really any facts, only a heresay accusation thrown like s sloppily tossed hand grenade, it is hard to
    know what to pass judgement in any way that is fair or reasoned.
     
  5. In a sense, I think there are two questions here, unrelated to McCurry as such, and apart from the actual facts which seem a bit unclear:
    1. Supposing a photographer uses a printer who decides, without clear directions and sign-off from the photographer, to alter the photo, is that ethical and how much does this reflect back on the photographer and hist art and craft?
    2. How much does an artist need to state that images can be altered, and in how much are those alterations potentially perceived as faking?
    Excuse me Luca, if I read you wrong, but I feel it boils down to these 2 questions?
    Question 2 has been beaten to death, resurrected and then again beaten to death. A hundred times. No need to go through that again.
    Question 1 is more interesting - replication and manipulation of photos is arguably simpler than with any other art, so keeping the process under control end-to-end is harder and possibly more important to the artist, to ensure his/her viewers get to see exactly what (s)he wanted them to see. If the story on this McCurry exhibition is true, and your assumption that the printer was too liberal (which sounds feasible enough), I think it reflects badly on all involved. The printing team should make sure they understand the artist; the artist should instruct the printing team properly. It's a shared responsibility, though the printer's name usually doesn't show on the exhibition publicity materials.
    This is all assuming of course the facts are as presumed in the OP.
     
  6. Again, it is not an accusation, but a matter of reasoning on a relationship between an author and his audience.
    I will try to post a picture.
     
  7. [​IMG]

    This is not my image, but an image taken from an Italian newspaper. But if my bona-fide report of the news is questioned, I need to quote the sources.
    In a follow-up to the article, McCurry says that he needs to have a stricter control over his exhibitions and that he has no clue on what has happened.
     
  8. I just would add that I wouldn't see this as an ethical case. In the relationship between viewer and artist, I think the importance is in whether the version the viewer sees is exactly as the artists would want. Anything preventing that, within the control of the artist and his collaborators, is a screw-up, until it's proven to be intentional (at which point ethics do creep in).
     
  9. Wouter, thank you for summarizing my questions, it is all-right. Since I recall you live in Italy, it might be easy for you to check the news I report.
    In certain environments question 2 still stands and is brought up to an ethics issue, influencing the relationship between the author and his audience.
    My response reflects yours, Wouter, I was just interested to hear other voices.
     
  10. I have no comment on the McCurry situation but I do have a few thoughts regarding the general "relationship between an author and his audience" and whether or not photographic manipulation matters.
    • First off, it doesn't matter whether or not this issue has been beaten to death in months or years passed. Times and technology change. New faces enter the photography fold. To dismiss a legitimate question because it's been discussed before is, at the very least, unfair. If the discussion bores you, just don't participate.
    • I agree that it doesn't matter that a particular photo has been manipulated and no longer reflects exactly what the photographer saw through the viewfinder ... as long as the photographer discloses this fact! We all tweak simple aspects of photos (contrast, etc ...) But many photographers go well beyond basic adjustments to remove trees, add objects, change colors and alter countless other things. If you're going to do that, I believe you should tell people. It is not honest to present a photograph to the public and to allow an unsuspecting admirer and/or buyer to think, "Wow! What an amazing photo!" when all along they should be thinking, "Wow! What great use of PhotoShop!" At some point, a manipulated photograph becomes something else and we should all be up front about it.
     
  11. I think some ethics will be involved when we are talking documentary work. I'd have to see the photos in the context presented in order to assess that for myself. Documentary is different from art or entertainment but is also different (especially these days) from photojournalism. I agree there are cases of art photos where I'd want to know if a photo was a composite or had been radically altered, and that info could affect how I view a photo, but I won't necessarily have that chance.
     
  12. I agree with Fred. I used to work for a paper. We did not manipulate photos. If I do my own stuff not for
    publication as news then I manipulate most pictures to a degree mainly by using the clarity slider in Lightroom to
    make them look better or more realistic. That is my business. I am sure NatGeo has standards for publication.
    Generally publishers like reuters publish those internally imposed standards for the public to see. As I remember Reuters allow for very
    limited processing to make pictures technically acceptable for publication. There is no law or canon that compels
    any photographer to certain ethical standards relative photo manipulation unless a distortion represents a
    commercial fraud. I do believe that a photographer should have a set of ethical standards that guide his or her
    actions. What constitutes a violation of ethics is highly subjective. I have sold a couple of photos that were
    obviously manipulated because a customer liked them. He knew. We love Van Gogh and Rembrandt and Peter
    Breughel for doing it their way. We don't need to close this off in photography with too much self righteousness.
     
  13. PapaTango

    PapaTango Itinerant Philosopher

    Remember the kerfluffle over John Filo's Kent State photo? As original and the what won the Pulitzer prize--there is a post appearing directly behind Mary Vecchio's head. Someone later removed that post--and it was reproduced for 20 years without the post--and nobody noticed.
    Did Joe Rosenthal's Pulitzer Prize photo have anything to do with the actual taking of island after the battle--or was it a second thought days later and staged? Whatever the case, this is the image of victory that was seen around the world.
    What is a photograph? Like Fred notes, documentary and forensic photography ethically should be unsullied by manipulation. But what of the post at Kent State? Is that an historic artifact that contributes to the meaning--or simply a distraction to a powerful photograph. Numerous other photos of the same scene exist--yet it is this one by virtue of the angle is the one we know about.
    For whatever reason, McCurry seems to raise a lot of aesthetic and philosophical hackles on the backs of other photographers--large and small. Let's be honest here. Even in the hoary old days of thiosulphate floating in ones nostrils--photographs were manipulated. Things were burnt in or dodged out. Adams did this--and we can little argue his premise that the vision for the print is the art of the photographer.
    In the case of the "Italian Idiocy" seen here, I cannot believe that such sloppy work could escape those that ran the presentation. Mayhaps just another statement of the mediocrity to which the world is hell bent on refining to an art form of its own. To me, there are only two questions here that all of the others conflate into.
    First, SOMEONE really dropped the ball on the handling of the image. So yes, the photographer in any instance--unless they have totally sold the rights to use the image--should maintain creative control and monitoring of how their images are displayed.
    Second, unless the image is a complete digital fabrication--thus shifting to the genre of digital art--I feel there is little onus on the photographer to let us know what Nik filter they used--nor what distracting element they blitzed out. There is a big difference between removing a "no parking" sign and Stalinizing a documentary photograph. For 'art' it is the vision the photographer wishes to render--not so much how he got to that image.
    For the record, on the back of each of my framed photos is an info plaque. It tells the title, equipment used, and if anything besides basic sharpening and curve adjustments--that it has been 'creatively' processed in PhotoShop. Back to being honest--a majority of the work any serious photographer does has seen PS--this place would be pretty bland with a full complement of RAW stock images...
     
  14. Now that I have seen the photo in question , that is really sloppy. I am very surprised. If the prints were produced by
    McCurry's studio as part of a solo exhibition instead of being prepared by someone else as part of a group exhibition
    organized and printed by that oganization, someone at his studio -his studio manager specifically - has a lot to answer for
    as they have embarrassed McCurry and made him look stupid. McCurry is taking public responsibility but someone
    needs to be shown the door.
     
  15. Somebody tell me who makes the ethical rules for manipulating photographs outside of publications who do their
    best to accurately report the truth? Who is the judge? There are laws against misrepresentation in business.
    Who controls this if no law is broken? There are a lot of "shoulds" stated above based upon individual moralistic
    judgments. We still do not now the details. As one who in another professions has lost partial control of rather
    extensive activities that I held under my control I am sympathetic to McCurry. The real answer for him IMO is to
    correct the process. Remember Murphy's law. Anything that can go wrong, will. We are all human. S***
    happens. In the mean time if I want to take some telephone lines or a yellow post out of one of my pictures, I will.
     
  16. Ellis Vener[​IMG], May 01, 2016; 04:50 p.m.
    McCurry is taking public responsibility but someone needs to be shown the door.​
    I guess that both have already happened.
    The exhibition organiser, for what it matters, has confirmed that the prints came from McCurry's lab.
     
  17. Dick Arnold[​IMG], May 01, 2016; 05:47 p.m.
    Somebody tell me who makes the ethical rules for manipulating photographs outside of publications who do their best to accurately report the truth? Who is the judge? There are laws against misrepresentation in business. Who controls this if no law is broken?​
    I certainly can't tell you. Your arguments about misrepresentation and breach of law are exactly the ones I proposed in certain environments.
    There are a lot of "shoulds" stated above based upon individual moralistic judgments.​
    My shoulds have no judgments embedded. As I said above, they are genuine questions. McCurry has already taken public responsibility, moved the team member in charge "to other projects", and confirmed that he will be more in control of exhibition material in the future.
    We still do not now the details. As one who in another professions has lost partial control of rather extensive activities that I held under my control I am sympathetic to McCurry. The real answer for him IMO is to correct the process. Remember Murphy's law. Anything that can go wrong, will. We are all human. S*** happens. In the mean time if I want to take some telephone lines or a yellow post out of one of my pictures, I will.​
    I think you mix up things here. Sure, s*** happens, but this post processing, which I have not questioned, is just sloppy and unprofessional work. Nothing to do with chance of mis-fortune, just a badly done job.
     
  18. Documentry should have elements of truth as much as a photograph can reveal such truths.
    Manipulation, is manipulation and hides truths.
    Hiding truths is photographic cowardliness' and in documentry photography is a act of crowdedness at best and could really be something much deeper...
     
  19. "J"ust because a photograph is manipulated - beyond the manipulation that already happens during the framing - doesn't mean that the photographer is "hiding" something".Phil.
    No it does not. But neither does it mean that they are not hiding something.
    Documentry should be as near the truth as possible...manipulating the final images ,other than the basic, is a cause for suspicion. Why manipulate?
     
  20. Lucas.From Photonet Terms of Use. " Photo.net includes information, images, photos, commentary, content,
    opinions and material that our users upload ("User Content"). You agree to upload and post only User Content
    that you have created yourself". Just to let you know. When you get involved with people working for you under
    contract or directly sometimes they do things that get you in trouble. You then, normally, like the janitor behind the
    elephant, you have to clean up after them.
     
  21. I think of McCurry as an editorial photographer. Editorial comes with opinion.
    Documentary is often editorial in nature and does not provide so-called "truth." To even approach truth, it is probably wise to look at several documentaries on the same subject from different people and different points of view.(Often the same is true of photojournalism, even though it tends to have and ought to have stricter guidelines.)
    cowardliness​
    Let's see now . . .
    On the one hand, we have a photographer who has traveled the world, was one of the first to photograph the war between Afghanistan and Pakistan, just around the time of the Russian invasion, sewing his film into the lining of his clothing to get it into the public's view, confronting armed conflict and much personal danger to get his pictures.
    On the other hand, we have a guy sitting behind the safety of his computer keyboard calling such a photographer a coward for possibly manipulating an image here and there.
    One has to ask . . . who's the coward?
     
  22. My conclusion
    "Much ado about nothing"
     
  23. TL:DR
    The photos are in an exhibit, not a newspaper. As such they are on display as art and commentary. Any manipulation he has done is his prerogative.
    Photojournalism is not an indifferent recording of facts. It is imagery with impact and the greater the impact the bette. Impact IS manipulation of emotion and information.
    News agencies are very sensitive about manipulation precisely because they want you to be affected by the image knowing that what is portrayed really happened. Of course if you have ever been in the field you know that so much of what was photographed has been staged or recreated.
    Sadly, McCurry was victimized by sloppy print prep.
     
  24. TL:DR
    The photos are in an exhibit, not a newspaper. As such they are on display as art and commentary. Any manipulation he has done is his prerogative.
    Photojournalism is not an indifferent recording of facts. It is imagery with impact and the greater the impact the bette. Impact IS manipulation of emotion and information.
    News agencies are very sensitive about manipulation precisely because they want you to be affected by the image knowing that what is portrayed really happened. Of course if you have ever been in the field you know that so much of what was photographed has been staged or recreated.
    Sadly, McCurry was victimized by sloppy print prep.
     
  25. "Documentary, if it's any good and even if the photographs are as unmanipulated as possible, is subjective ( unlike what photojournalism should be, as objective as possible ) and assumes the point of view of the maker. Documentary is less about 'truth' and more about a point of view being taken and shown". Phil.
    All photography is subjective, and in that sense, are manipulated this is a basic assumption...but there are degrees of manipulation....
    'photojournalism should be, as objective as possible' Phil.
    I would agree, however, documentry should also try to emulate that path.
    Lets not be lost in fairy stories, when the photographer, is also lost in a fairy story...lets call it expressing their artistic license.
     
  26. documentry should also try to emulate that path​
    IMO, it shouldn't. Some documentary may want to. I think other documentary work importantly shows a point of view and a subjective take on whatever is being dealt with.

    I don't think anyone here is lost in fairy stories, nor do I think it's fair to accuse others of that just because they happen to disagree with some of what you say.
     
  27. Hi all. Longtime member, almost equally longtime hermit here. Glad to be back.
    There are a lot of kinds of photography McCurry could make that are all closely related: editorial, documentary, and photojournalism as mentioned, but also just wandering around with a camera. Before we even start talking about the ethics of Photoshopping trivial stuff, we need to first figure out what McCurry's intentions are. Once we do that, the ethical answers come a lot easier.
    We tend to assume that McCurry's photos are editorial(or documentary, if you agree with his opinions), because HE makes them. But in many ways, that is the same as assuming that a David Lynch-directed Spongebob film will be about drugs, insomnia, amnesia, and repressed sexual desires. Those might be the films Lynch makes, but this time around it's a Spongebob movie. We'll debate endlessly the symbolism of the Krabby Patty, but chances are that a Krabby Patty is just a Krabby Patty.
    I think it's fair to say that most of the response to McCurry's poorly-doctored images has nothing to do with the images themselves. I think most of the response comes from the fact that McCurry has a certain reputation, and as such we assume that any images that he produces will be the same quality and style as his previous images.
    Granted, I like to mess with people. Anyone that challenges the status quo with any sort of talent to back it up is a champ in my book - those that are willing to risk alienating their own audience are absolute heroes.
    McCurry is in a unique place. There aren't a lot of people who are old enough to have a reputation as a master from the good old days of The Establishment, but that are still young enough to have lots of good, relevant work left in their future. That's important, because it means that young AND old people respect him, as do MFA students AND commercial shooters and wannabees. Offhand, I can't think or more than two or three other people in his position.
    Which is why this whole thing makes me sad. Not because of what happened, but because of what could have happened.
    So McCurry showed these images which came from a highly respected artist who presumably knows his stuff, printed huge(which usually means a lot of attention), and with clear, but not-quite-glaring Photoshop mistakes.
    Could you imagine how the conversation *could* have gone?
    "Mr. McCurry, we've noticed a lot of Photoshopping in your recent show."
    "Yeah, what of it?"
    "Well, that hardly seems like ethical documentary process."
    "Why? These aren't for NewsWeek or NatGeo. These are just photos I like."
    "Well, don't you think someone of your reputation should be held to a higher standard?"
    "Um .... why?"
    I think that based on McCurry's response, the conversation that we can have about these images pales in comparison to the one that we could have.
     
  28. Yes.
    But the photoshop techie has lost his job.
     
  29. There is a canon in photojournalism that requires un-manipulated photos. For everything else there are no rules as to manipulation. There may be quality standards and guidelines, but If these photos are not reportage, the discussion as to whether the cloning was done well or not is more relevant to me than whether or not it was done in the first place. So to the OP, no NOT an ethical question unless this is a parsonage and not a photography forum.
    +1 Mark Davidson.
     
  30. NOT an ethical question unless this is a parsonage and not a photography forum.​
    Makes sense.
     
  31. "I don't think anyone here is lost in fairy stories, nor do I think it's fair to accuse others of that just because they happen to disagree with some of what you say". Fred.
    There you go Fred putting words in other folks mouths.
    Its all about thoughts and all are equally valid and interesting whether I/we agree or not....I have not had any messages from above (although in a past post you expressed you might have;) and I have yet to sit on the" font of all knowledge".....
    Maybe you have Fred and are not telling...bless you.
     
  32. I have not had any messages from above (although in a past post you expressed you might have;)
    That's just a lie.

    I quoted you and everyone can see right here on the page that you used the words fairy stories.

    You, on the other hand, are trading in innuendo, making something up out of thin air and claiming I said it without referencing when or where I supposedly said it.
     
  33. "Lets not be lost in fairy stories, when the photographer, is also lost in a fairy story...lets call it expressing their artistic license "Allen.
    I did...but read it in context....I implied that thought not claiming posters were lost in it...
    I have not had any messages from above (although in a past post you expressed you might have;)
    That's just a lie. Fred.
    That's how your post read....do I need to dig it up? I even asked you if you had any messages for me.
     
  34. ethical case?
    The bottom line is, that unfortunately, there are those who hide truths to please their masters.
    Fairy tales come to mind to please....
     
  35. That's just a lie.​
    I applaud your directness, Fred. Allen's line of attack was getting positively weird.
    I shall offer a hypothesis: the likelihood (L) that a thread will devolve to something less than constructive argumentation (SLTCA) is directly proportional to the duration of the thread (DT) measured in number of posts.
    I have not tested this hypothesis empirically. For all I know the relationship might be cubic (or something else) and not quadratic, but there sure as heck is a direct relationship. I am pretty sure that it is not linear. It's got to be exponential.
    I would also like to offer an upper limit on the number of posts possible before a critical mass is achieved leading to a runaway nuclear reaction and subsequent blast. I have been unable to test this hypothesis since all threads to this point have blown up by more conventional mechanisms long before any such theoretical limit can be approached.
    --Lannie
     
  36. Documentary, if it's any good and even if the photographs are as unmanipulated as possible, is subjective
    I don't agree with that. Documenting is the recording of facts in an objective way. Journalism is documenting/recording facts and disseminating them to the public via the media. If it is subjective, then it is just part of the story and not that good a document, perhaps it is closer to activism or propaganda, but those are not genuine documentaries. While it can be difficult for an individual to see their subjective biases, that is where collaborating with others can help as it can help cover differ points of view and to make the document more objective and accurate. Subjectivity is an imperfection, not a merit, in a document or documentary.
    The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word "documentary" in the following way:
    1. being or consisting of documents : contained or certified in writing

    2. of, relating to, or employing documentation in literature or art; broadly : factual, objective
     
  37. A half dozen more of McCurry's photos turned out to be altered. And who knows? Maybe there are a dozen more that were changed in Photoshop. The new altered photos have things removed and things added. Does this change anyone's opinion?
    http://petapixel.com/2016/05/26/photoshopped-photos-emerge-steve-mccurry-scandal/
     
  38. Does this change anyone's opinion?​
    Yes. I now think he should be burned at the stake instead of being hanged.
     
  39. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    No, I don't think he should feel remotely guilty about making changes to his work in post processing , unless he's said that he hasn't . I think that maybe he should feel embarrassed that through lack of control he allowed substandard work to go out under his name.
     
  40. "On the other hand, we have a guy sitting behind the safety of his computer keyboard calling such a photographer a coward for possibly manipulating an image here and there.
    One has to ask . . . who's the coward? "Fred.
    Indeed, you sit behind a computer screen, offering words of wisdom about photojournalism which you have never practiced. To my mind your idea of photojournalism is about a theatre production expressing the ideas and thoughts of the writer...a stage play.
    In the real world, not in a fairy tale theatre production, photojournist are expected to be objective and unbiased, and their images to be as honest and not manipulated other than the basics.
    If a photojournalist is adding/taking away information in his/her photographs they at the very least will loose respect...it is that simple.
    In their private work that's different...but in the real world any serious manipulation of photos is treated with suspicion if the photographer is a respected photojournalist.
     
  41. Hence his reaction...
     
  42. In Fred's theatre production, photographs would be manipulation to show Russian tanks rolling through Venice beach...
    Hey, its only a theatre production...but I would like to think our photojournalist would be more objective and honest with their images..
    Sorry, Fred...just could not resist..
     
  43. Just for the record I think Steve is a superb photojournalist; and like others put themselves in extreme danger....to offer a real world reality in combat zones.
     
  44. Dear Steve,
    I personally feel that the best images are caught in the moment. One frame speaks volumes.
    D.G.DeFabritis
     
  45. The Steve McCurry Photoshop scandal seems to be going through an interesting progression.

    1) First photo revealed at exhibition to obviously be manipulated.
    2) A couple other photos surface afterward that are clearly manipulated with people being removed from the frame.
    3) McCurry gives a press conference in Montreal in which he says he had no idea these things were happening and blames it on someone in his studio who made the changes in his absence while he was out of the country.
    4) A half dozen more photos surface that have obivously been manipulated. Objects and people have been removed from different versions of the photos.
    5) McCurry changes his position and explains that he has been manipulating photos for years because he felt he had the right as a "visual storyteller" and those who believed he was a photojournalist were confused.
    It doesn't look very good for McCurry in terms of his photographic ethics, especially his dishonesty on the issue- first denying any knowledge and then changing his story.
    Now there are older interviews surfacing where he told interviewers none of his photos were manipulated and any photographer that does such a thing is crossing an ethical line. While he has done some great photography, does the fact that he has been dishonest on the issue damage his reputation or will he get a pass because of his Afghan girl photograph?
    #FanChat wFamed Photojournalist Steve Mccurry
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0ej66oyesY
    32:30- Where do you draw the line with Photoshop?
    An Interview with Steve McCurry TedxAmsterdamWomen
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=njhkRyw3CKo
    7:00- How do you feel about adjusting your pictures?
     
  46. To elaborate on my last point, if Steve McCurry was a fairly new photographer with only a few years of experience and not someone with decades of experience and fame, would his career now be over?
    Here's another one of these interviews from a few years ago in which McCurry said he never manipulates photos:
    Steve McCurry at Chautauqua Institution Photo Week
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DaKaJhsdndo
    41:15- McCurry: "We don't go beyond dodging and burning....."
     
  47. I think lying is unethical. What I've seen in terms of alterations to McCurry's original shots don't bother me as much as his lies if they are, in fact, lies.
    Steve McCurry is a seasoned photographer with a body of work that has been well received and my guess is that a lot of people who are not photographers won't give a damn that his photos have been manipulated in the way they have, though they may well give a damn that he lied about it.

    None of the instances of manipulation I've seen seem to me anything like propaganda or material changes that would alter the truth of a story to the extent it would have political ramiifications, which I imagine a lot of people would be put off by. It's usually only photographers that get into snits about the sorts of manipulations made here, which seem to me to have been made simply to, in the photographer's mind, better articulate a vision as opposed to materially altering the photos in a propagandistic way.

    Again, though, if he lied about what he did, shame on him.
    If you were expecting him to be a journalist and were expecting him to conform to journalistic standards, you have learned that he was not and did not, at least with regard to these photos. I don't know that your expectations are his responsibility, if he wasn't acting as a hired, professional journalist at the time these changes were being made.
     
  48. I've never been a big fan of McCurry's work, but I know many people are. I look at Afghan Girl and TRUTH does not come to mind. Afghan Girl is striking and stylistic, colorful and sharp, and the eyes are more in the tradition of a Keane painting than journalistic truth. So I've always seen his stuff as personalized and overly sanitized and ordered. I didn't need a few examples of cloning to understand that what he was portraying wasn't some sort of unvarnished truth or objectivity. Just look at the work. You don't need to know some cloning went on to understand that the work is very subjective and more stylized than neutral or factual.
     
  49. I'm hearing a lot of sour grapes in these posts.
     
  50. Barry,
    I'm assuming you're just a hobbyist and are not familiar with the NPPA and how photo manipulation in photojournalism is actual a serious issue. It still seems more likely to be the opposite situation and McCurry will get a pass because he is an older photojournalist with a long career. If the same thing had been done by a photojournalist in his late 20s with perhaps five years of experience, would the reaction have been different? It actually would have been much harsher. Look up some of the recent incidents such as the photographer in Iraq who duplicated some people in a photo.
    And this progression sadly continues:
    6) People who worked with McCurry in India described how he staged some of his photos for National Geographic.
    An article by Kshitij Nagar called Eyes of the Afghan Girl was published on Petapixel. He tracked down some people who worked with McCurry. Yes, most people won't care that he was staging photos but again, it's an issue when you do photojournalism.
     
  51. it's an issue when you do photojournalism.​
    Which he wasn't doing.
     
  52. Actually he was doing photojournalism. Who said he was? Well, he did actually in multiple interviews and also where he described his work as photojournalism- even going so far as to state in interviews that his work was following the Associated Press standards. And he also told people he was a photojournalist- not a "visual storyteller." I'm not sure why this is not clear.
    And the manipulated photos were being sold by his webpage and also Magnum. Magnum does still do photojournalism unless I missed the announcement that they have given it up.
     
  53. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Magnum does still do photojournalism unless I missed the announcement that they have given it up.​

    Nobody said they gave it up. Where did you read that on here? Please cite a reference.

    Magnum does say on their website in the section that tells you what they do:
    Magnum Photos is a photographic co-operative of great diversity and distinction owned by its photographer-members. With powerful individual vision, Magnum photographers chronicle the world and interpret its peoples, events, issues and personalities. ​
    "Interpret" is probably the key word here. It does not say anything about strict photojournalism.
     
  54. It seems that the analysis of the issue underlying this thread moved on quite a bit.

    While journalistic rules are quite clear about manipulation - Reuters fired some of their staff because of that - overall things are much less clear-cut and the borders very blurred.

    SMC was an excellent photojournalist once and is probably an industry now. The difference should be clear to everybody, as well as what it means. This does not make SMC less responsible for what happens in his "organisation" but still the responsibility rules are more ethical than juridical.

    That said, manipulating might be acceptable to many, lying not.

    Who shall hold SMC responsible for what happens under him? The market? The publishers of his books? The buyers of his books?
    The buyers of his pictures? Those organizing his exhibitions? Those visiting his exhibitions (No, I'm not going to pay to watch all this manipulated stuff)? Magnum, who has never asked an associate to leave since its foundation?

    I don't know.

    I can only make decisions for myself, purely subjective.

    That is what Barry Fisher also said on May 9, 2016.
     
  55. I'm assuming you're just a hobbyist and are not familiar with the NPPA and how photo manipulation in photojournalism is actual a serious issue.​

    Yep, Just a mere hobbyist, but I am somewhat familiar with the photojournalistic standards as I referred to them on May 9.
    I just don't know if I would consider the photos in question strict photojournalism. I think what I said remains accurate. I recall photographer was canned for merging two images for the LA Times. But again, I think this is a different situation.
     

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