Blurred Lines: Image Recording and Image Creation

Post-production tools like Photoshop are key for photographers to alter the image into something very persuasive and provocative. But over the years this practice of image altering has raised quite a bit of controversy. In 2015 at the World Press photo competition several favored entries were disqualified due to over-manipulation. This raises the question: how much is too much? Where is the line between recording events and deceiving the viewer? The answer may vary depending on who you ask. The Associated Press’s Photography Vice President denounced the practice as having, “no place in journalism.” However, when surveyed by The New York Times, many photographers agreed that photo manipulation is way more common than the public may perceive.

Personally, I think that post-production should only be used in creative work, and should never be used in an journalistic capacity. Ethical journalistic practices should focus on recording unbiased facts, including manipulation free images. When a news outlet admits to altering images, it presents the ever-present possibility of portraying something that is near-truth, but not the whole-truth. This contaminates whatever is being shown as we can no longer trust our own eyes. Of course, not all images are altered and not all outlets are guilty of stretching the truth. But as a viewer we should always check our sources and avoid sources that prioritize clicks, over ethics.