Sunday, February 3, 2008

A Blue Sky Would Have Been Much Prettier.

AN ADVISOR at the University of Denver's student newspaper, The Clarion, suggested that the photo above would have been better with a bluer sky. And the advisor suggested that the photojournalist who created the image - at an MLK rally - digitally manipulate the sky to make it prettier.

How many of the principles of journalism would that violate?

Or, is it an acceptable thing to do? After all, magazines manipulate images frequently and nearly every glossy mag's cover has been heavily airbrushed.

9 comments:

brett strycharz said...

With artistic/editorial photo manipulation, images in print media are becoming just as polarizing as the written messages themselves.

I don't really know why this bothers me so much. At first glance it would seem so petty for the color of the sky to be skewed to make it "more appealing"... normally this kind of thing wouldn't bother me. It does though.

The enormity of the rally should be the focal point of the shot... why not take advantage of what was given to you: addressing the turnout regardless of the adverse weather conditions? There's plenty of room for a creative spin.

The fact that even the smallest facets of the news, our "objective" daily consumption of the world around us, are being tweaked is disturbing to me.

Do the agenda setters really need to change how we remember events to this degree?

Andy said...

This reminds me of the Irael-Lebanon conflict in '06 in which a photo was published showing more extensive damange in Beirut than actually existed. This incident obviously isn't as bad, but it still shows that media can be deceptive, which is not good for the rising mistrust in the trade.

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=21956_Reuters_Doctoring_Photos_from_Beirut&only

Chris Banks said...

meh, I can understand why they would want to manipulate the sky, and while I don't nessicarily agree with that, its less of a problem than if they manipulated the specific meaning of the image.

Ariela Rose said...

I don't think that the sky should be changed in any way because the sky should not be the focal point of the image. Sure, a blue sky would be perfect and pretty but what about the beauty of people coming together for an MLK rally...isn't that enough to satisfy readers?

Kevin Cook said...

This isn't a good picture. It's boring, doesn't tell me anything and shouldn't have ever been considered for print. And it definitely goes against good photojournalism to manipulate this image. This is how it was taken and it shouldn't be altered unless for slight level/contrast/color corrections. It's not acceptable.

All magazines alter their images to make skin flawless, boobs bigger, noses smaller, etc and we are so used to it we never think twice. I can't believe there was actually someone in my Writing for Journalism class who didn't know this happened! There is a difference between an altered news photo and a fashion photo -- where the purpose is to look sexy -- almost too sexy at times.

Jeff Frandsen said...

It depends on what the photograph is. It's remarkable about how many photos (especially magazine covers) are touched up using photoshop and such. As a graphic designer for television, There are also a few times where I will manipulate a picture a little bit to make the quality of it better. As for this march, I do not see it as THAT big of a deal. Though, wouldn't people who attended being like: "it was NOT that sunny out!"? Who knows. Anyway, once again, I believe that on a picture like this, brightening the sky a little bit to give it more of a blue tint would not seem as such a crime.

Kayte Ljungquist said...

I don't think changing the color of the sky will change the meaning of the picture. If alterations do change the meaning, then I do not agree with it. Then, it would not be truthful.

Shauna said...

If was picture was taken for aesthetic reasons, then I see no problem in altering a few details digitally in order to make it more visually appealing. Altering minor aspects does not make a picture a lie. Changing an entire image and completely destroying the message of the photograph, I can understand more of an upset about. Who cares what color they want to make the sky? The message of the photograph and what the photographer was trying to portray is still the same. The message is what needs to be truthful, not every single detail in the picture.

David Hall said...

I do alot of graphic design work and honestly i think that changing the sky would make the picture look unrealistic. There is a certain glare that would shine on the people if it were truly a blue sky. If you change it the sky will look bright but the original remains of the picture would look dull. I could be wrong but I doubt it.