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Ethics of Photo Manipulation

On the subject of photo manipulation, within the media, it is imperative to be aware of a few key points. The first is that photo manipulation has been around almost as long as the photograph itself. Throughout history the process of editing photos to serve publishing agendas has remained a constant, thus should anyone be surprised that with the advent of computer technology there has been a supossed increase in it?

Furthermore, even without the process of manipulation through montage or computer programs, the photo is still a represetnation of someone’s view of any given circumstance. The photographer constantly makes edits through the decisions of angle, distance, cropping, and lighting of any subject matter. This means that even an “unaltered” photograph still has weaknesses to the claim of being an unbiased representation.

With these points in mind, it ultimately becomes a personal choice as to whether photo-manipulation is ethical, but at least take an educated standpoint.

One Comment

  1. Bluehue wrote:

    When pertaining to the media, the moment you start manipulating the photo it is no longer documentary (besides maybe minor color, contrast and brightness adjustments). Staying true to documentary photography is more specific to informative and news media and it is important to do so. Manipulation can be questionable when it done for other media types, but it can also be very effective.

    Outside of news media, photo manipulation is an art form that I believe is beautiful when done right. It can also be used to better communicate the message desired by the photographer who took it. I do believe it important to understand these ethics and to understand when its application is questionable, but as a form of expression I do not think that it is questionable ethically.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 4:34 am | Permalink