It should have began when Ansel Adams and his predecessors in photography first learned how to manipulate film in the darkroom to enhance or change the reality recorded on film. I’m sure there were hot debates back then, but for the past 20 years, the debate over digital editing has torn whole groups apart. The idea of “purist” photography versus manipulated is a long debated issue. In a well written editorial, “Digital Editing: It’s Time to Tell All” by Karen Slattery and Erik Ugland in The Digital Journalist, they frankly discuss the issue as it stands today, and basically says, more can be done.
Probably the most robust debate among photojournalists over the past two decades has been over the uses of digital technology and the legitimacy of electronic image manipulation.
Scores of books, articles and symposia have addressed this issue with some clearly positive results for the profession.
But for all of these efforts, there is still far more that photographers and news organizations could be doing to minimize the risks of deception and to maintain credibility with audiences.
No matter where you stand on this issue, this is worth a read. It might change your opinion, and if it does, we’d like to know why. Digital photography, its potential and abuse, is with us. There is nothing we can do to stop it, but we need to talk about it so we know when to draw the line, whatever that line is. What do you think?