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|| News Item: Posted 2007-05-23

Leading Off: A Pop Quiz
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Visalia Times Delta (1981)

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / Visalia Times Delta (1981)

Hand of God: Antiquated printing technique? Or way to clean up backgrounds?
All right class! Since there has been so much confusion and discussion on the topic of ETHICS in photography, I think it's time for a little POP QUIZ to measure your ethics level.

No this quiz will not be going toward your credits for graduation. Think of this as more of a "Redbook" quiz than a truly academic evaluation.

So everyone get out your #2 pencils, put on your thinking caps and … no peeking at Robert Seale's or Jack Gruber's tests!

1) You're covering a NASCAR race (or some other equally boring motor sports event). To make your photos "interesting" and evocative do you:
A) You shoot everything tilting your camera at a 45-degree angle, making the cars look like they are traveling up hill (or down hill).
B) You shoot everything tilting your camera at a 45-degree angle and pan at a slower shutter speed
C) Shoot everything "straight" and tilt and blur your photos in Photoshop

2) In the closing minute of a blowout high school basketball game, a player on the winning team enters the game for the first time and does a spectacular reverse dunk into the face of an opposing player. Do you:
A) Transmit another photo to your paper of the top scorer on the winning team.
B) Transmit the dunk photo to your paper, but note in the caption that the player only scored two points in the closing minute of the game.
C) Transmit the dunk photo to your paper, do not note in the caption that the player only scored two points and leave it to a photo editor or copy editor to figure it out.

3) In the closing minute of a blowout high school basketball game, a player on the winning team enters the game for the first time and does a spectacular reverse dunk into the face of an opposing player. You're timing is a little off and the ball is just a little too low in the frame. You want to enter this photo into a contest. Do you:
A) Use Photoshop and move the ball up in the frame. (And while you're at it, you clean up the photo by cloning out a distracting player.)
B) Use Photoshop and only move the ball up in the frame.
C) You don't enter contests because you're comfortable with your talents and standing in the photographic community.

4) You have an assignment to photograph a prep player that is the area's top college prospect. The assignment says to meet the player on campus on Monday and when you arrive, he says: "What do you want me to do for the photo? I don't usually workout or practice on Mondays." Do you:
A) Have the player workout for your photos like he would on Tuesday, his usual workout day.
B) Photograph the player working out like he would on Tuesday, his usual workout day. But you note in the caption that he is doing this for the photographs.
C) Go back to your car, get out a lighting kit and make a nice portrait of the player.

Photo by

Do you need a bubble leveler to cover motor sports?
5) My digital cameras are set to:
A) sRGB color space, so my photos look better on a computer monitor.
B) Pump up color saturation and sharpness to make my photos "pop" on a computer screen.
C) No worries! I work for SI, so I shoot everything in RAW.

The term "Hand of God":

A) Is a way-cool technique I use to clean up the background of my photos, making my background almost black.
B) Is an antiquated technique used in the old days in the darkroom, using your hands under an enlarger to burn down the background of photographs.
C) What's an enlarger?

OK, now add up your scores, giving 1 point for every question you answered with A; 2 points for every B answer and 3 points for every C answer.

Here is your grade:
1 - 5 points
Look to your left and your right: Are you sitting between Paul Wolfowitz and Alberto Gonzales?
6 - 11 points
You're balancing on the ethics picket fence … and the pointy end hurts!
12 - 15 points
Go straight to Brooks Institute of Photography, bubble leveler in hand and teach Ethics 101!

Yes, the above "quiz" was done tongue planted firmly in cheek. Somewhat.

Ethics, ladies and gentlemen, is not just a personal, private issue, one that you can turn on and off or bend to the situation of the moment.

Good photography is about storytelling. Honest storytelling. Yes we can put our own interpretation in our stories. But that is where sometimes the fine line of ethical behavior comes in.

We all know it's wrong to use Photoshop to take things out … or put things into a photograph. That's simple common sense.

Distorting reality, changing the conditions and elements of a situation or manipulating things just to make your photograph more "evocative" or more appealing to your editors and clients should also fall into this common sense category of ethical conduct.

Does simply entering an image into a contest give a photographer license to manipulate the elements in that image for the sake of winning recognition and a prize?

Does calling that manipulated photograph a "contest entry" negate ethical conduct and practices?

Every publicized breach of ethics in photography and journalism damages our credibility. As storytellers, that is all we have with our readers … their trust and our credibility.

* * *

Sports Shooter #101 features a provocative piece from David Leeson addressing head on the controversy surrounding frame grabs from high-def video.

We have reports on two of the biggest sports events of the past few weeks: Robert Beck on the "fight of the decade" and Gary Bogdon on the "greatest two minutes in sports".

Jared Dort extols the great things learned from assisting other photographers. Paul Myers checks in with his always-interesting "Preaching To The Choir" column. And this month starts a regular feature from Nick Layman on multimedia, concentrating on integrating audio into your work.

Over the past 100 issues of the newsletter I've ended this column with a tag line on what I am currently listening to on iTunes. I will continue to do that and add what reading material is on my nightstand:
Playing on iTunes: Chuck Berry's "Gold"; Johnny Otis' "Rhythm & Blues Caravan - The Complete Savoy Recordings" and Jerry Lee Lewis' "Killer Rock N Roll"

On the nightstand: "Gone" (Jonathan Kellerman); "Counter Intelligence: Where To Eat In The real Los Angeles" (Jonathan Gold) and The Focal Easy Guide To Final Cut Pro 5 (Rick Young).

As always, thanks to Special Advisors & Contributors: Deanna & Emma Hanashiro, Brad Mangin, Rod Mar, Trent Nelson, Jason Burfield, Grover Sanschagrin, Joe Gosen, The Photodude, Reed Hoffmann, Paul Myers, Darren Carroll, Zach Honig and Bob Deutsch.

Thanks this month to: David Leeson, Robert Beck, Gary Bogdon, Jared Dort and Nick Layman.

I welcome any comments, corrections, suggestions and contributions. Please e-mail me at

The Sports Shooter Archives as well as tons of cool resources and information can be accessed through the Internet at

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