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Sac Bee fires photographer who altered images
Jack Kurtz, Photographer
Phoenix | AZ | United States | Posted: 11:15 AM on 02.05.12
->> At the risk of starting another ethics thread ...

The Sacramento Bee fired Bryan Patrick after suspending him earlier in the week for altering a photo of egrets eating a frog.

After investigating his work, they found several examples of photos he altered.
 This post is:  Informative (1) | Funny (0) | Huh? (0) | Off Topic (0) | Inappropriate (0) |   Definitions

Eric Isaacs, Photographer, Assistant
Santa Barbara | CA | USA | Posted: 11:28 AM on 02.05.12
->> Interesting comments, seems the general public thinks altering photos is insignificant and firing a photographer for doing so is cruel and heartless.
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David Harpe, Photographer
Denver | CO | USA | Posted: 12:28 PM on 02.05.12
->> seems the general public thinks altering photos is insignificant and firing a photographer for doing so is cruel and heartless.

I think it would be interesting for a publication to take an "off the hook" approach to photo alteration with full disclosure. A policy that says something like:
1. We will, on a regular basis, alter photos for aesthetic and/or artistic reasons. These alterations may include (but are not limited to) exposure/contrast/color adjustments, cloning of areas on the photo to eliminate blemishes or other elements, merging of multiple photos to provide a different perspective or combination of elements, or other alterations of a technical nature.

2. Whenever we present an altered image, we will fully disclose this fact and provide links to original source material for comparison purposes.

3. With any alteration, we will do so not to mislead, only to enhance. You will always have the ability to judge for yourself if we succeeded in this goal (see #2).
The idea is to allow the creative freedom allowed by the state of photography technology today without crossing any ethical boundaries. The key is step #2: Provide the source material up front. In the example here, it would be a link to the multiple exposures the photographer used to create the image. Eliminates any ambiguity about what is being done. The photographer is free to do tweaks to their imagery without fear of being fired, the public gets a nice image, everyone is happy.

Tons of details involved with the simple approach outlined above...i.e. making sure the image is archived appropriately to identify it as an altered image, making sure the source material isn't pirated, etc. All solvable problems. But I think it's a start to coming up with something that is acceptable to everyone.
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Sean D. Elliot, Photographer, Photo Editor
Norwich | CT | USA | Posted: 2:17 PM on 02.05.12
->> David, so, would doing that with all factual reporting be equally liberating? quotes in our newspaper will be fabricated to form the most lyrical sentences pleasing to the ear. we'll share with you the factual information that led us to create those quotes so you can decide for yourself how we've done?

reporting facts should not be subject to artistic interpretation. Pandering to the lowest common denominator in the public's perception is not in the best interest to the duty of journalism.

unless of course you were being entirely sarcastic ... to which I can only say, yeah, right, that's a great idea.
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Bradly J. Boner, Photographer, Photo Editor
Jackson | WY | USA | Posted: 2:41 PM on 02.05.12
->> The horse is dead, guys...
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Thread Title: Sac Bee fires photographer who altered images
Thread Started By: Jack Kurtz
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