Comments for David Campbell Writer, professor, producer Fri, 27 Feb 2015 10:06:44 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on Why does manipulation matter? by Fabiano Avancini Fri, 27 Feb 2015 10:06:44 +0000 I’m sorry, but: junk food, even with nutritional facts listing, remains junk food.
As well as a lie remains a lie, even if with bright lights/dark shadows.
The aestethic of a photo (done in equilibrated manner) is part of another process: to link it to contemporary common sense of beauty, or something near.
Think at black and white, it’s the highest level of manipulation in photography: you decide to keep the colors for you to emphasize the moment, the graphics, the aestethic and all the syntax instruments to underline something you think is important on your image (as photographer’s subjectivity) and it is not forbidden.

But a lie remains a lie.

A journalist has a name and if he is a liar: he has to embrace another career.
Even with nutritional fact listing: he must be responsible for his lies.
It is not professional ethics it is simple education.

Comment on Why does manipulation matter? by Josephine Sun Fri, 27 Feb 2015 06:36:12 +0000 (I meant to include that Mcdonalds and restaurants in the US have started listing the calories, fat and sugar content, and other nutritional fact of their foods on the menu. This is the type of accountability I’m hoping to see in high stakes photojournalism, as complicated the process may be)

Comment on Why does manipulation matter? by Josephine Sun Fri, 27 Feb 2015 06:31:52 +0000 We have reached a critical stage where a movement towards verification is necessary in order to preserve the value of the photographic real which is crucial in photojournalism. Just as Mcdonalds and restaurants in the U.S are held accountable for the nutrients of their food, photojournalists should be held accountable for any digital processing in their photos, especially in high stakes competition such as the WPP.

In fact, this digital audit trail, as you suggested, (anything from brightening/ contrast to cropping) should be shown next to the displayed images. The audience has the right to know what they are seeing!

If we are to continue honest photojournalism practice, then it’s time to unveil the practice of digital processing. Digital processing should not be something done under the table. Even all ‘acceptable’ processing should be put in the open. Let’s not forget that even the World Press Photos that are NOT disqualified HAVE been professionally processed. A digital trail would be a good way for the WPP to regain its legitimacy after all the scandals in recent years. And hopefully the industry will follow.

Comment on Why does manipulation matter? by Fabiano Avancini Wed, 25 Feb 2015 13:46:30 +0000 That’s an interesting news:

Comment on Why does manipulation matter? by Hugh peralta Wed, 25 Feb 2015 05:36:44 +0000 First I would like to know that I concur with must of the comments. However there are a few related items that also need to be consider. The analog days in photography are almost disappeared. Commercialy digital technology has taken control Of the media . There are nearly 9 B potencial photographers each armed with a point and shoot cameras, some loaded with suphistîcated editing features. Some of thE material, manipulated or not, produced by pocket cameras is finding the way to editors desks.
Some 45 yrs ago that I started in this business, even the word “manipulation” was mentioned in the photographers guide book. Anyone cough adulterating an image, got his termination check. This was true with the 2 dailies and the 2 wire services that I worked for. As for Mr Contreras/AP, I am very for him.

Comment on Why does manipulation matter? by Mark M Wed, 25 Feb 2015 01:29:20 +0000 Thanks for this David. It’s nice to read something with a little more weight than the soundbites that have been making the rounds. And thanks for referencing my post.

One small point about the ‘camera as a data-collection device’ that I cut from that piece was that C.S. Peirce had a fair amount to say about indexical relationships specifically as they relate to photography. He had a background in astrophotography. Many of his ideas about photography that are often applied to normal photographic images evolved from his work at the Harvard Observatory where he was collecting photometer images. The photometer produced images that looked a little like smears on a slide that represented the luminosity of stars. The photometer images look nothing like stars — there’s no iconic relationship — but they are certainly indexes. Reading Peirce with this understanding is helpful because most things we call photographs tend to be read as a mix of icon and index (and make a nice correlation to Barthes’ studium and punctum). But the photometer is pure index while still being a photograph. In fact, it would be much more accurate to call it a data-collection device even though it is thoroughly analog.

Not sure if this has any application to the discussion regarding image manipulation, but thought it was interesting.

Comment on Why does manipulation matter? by Fabiano Avancini Tue, 24 Feb 2015 15:16:56 +0000 Thank you Mr. Campbel for the debate.
Stated that in the western countries, as McLuhan says: “The Media is the Message”, it’s not a surprise that AP defends their role, sacrifying Contreas, and WPPA does the same with some 20% of the entrants, without publishing the names (action that could destroy careers).
The media is AP and WPPA, as well as all the magazines around the world: they have to affirm and defend their role and position. The photographer that wants to publish must play with their rules.
And the manipulation (as interpretation) is from the beginning to the end, not only for the image but for the whole news.

If we concern about the media.

If we concern about the message: the photographer has a duty on the subject, and the only question to ask is: WHY is he taking that photograph.
If it’s for AP, WPPA or whatever magazine do not forget that we are working in “infotainment” and to be published is the main issue, to sell: to inform looks secondary to propaganda today, and the needed “empathy” with the subject has to fit the market rules. For that someone beautify or dramatizes the images.
Looks like we cannot manage reality as it comes.

Facing that: truth is fragile.

I want to translate what I’m saying with a couple of images, not to promote myself but to better explain what I’m thinking:

the left one is a reportage on leprosy, the right one is fashion photography.
The first one cannot fit any magazine, because there could be a protest from the advertisers, the second one is perfect for all publications.
I’ve sent that reportage to the WPPA, without saying one W: “where” in China it was made, to preserve the subject from possible reprisals bureaucratic; obviously I was exluded. Simply I concern for the subject.
I did that without assignement because I think that a photographer has to document reality first, than face the document. In the mean time I’ve been using my photographs to address direct contributions to charity, to help the subject and not the agency or the newspaper. To pay my bill I can do any kind of work, even fashion, but when you face dignity you have to protect it, expecially in the editorial environment.

Why you are doing that photograph, remember?

Comment on Why does manipulation matter? by john macpherson Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:11:46 +0000 That’s fair enough David!

Comment on Why does manipulation matter? by David Campbell Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:03:01 +0000 Lots of interesting points John for WPP to consider. But here I’m not concerned with that contest or specific rules in any photo competitions. I’m writing personally about how, when and why I think manipulation matters even when we accept – as we must, especially in the era of computational photography – the inherently constructed nature of photography. I’m concerned with the conceptual foundations on which we have this conversation even before the matter of contest rules arises, because the traditional framework of truth/objectivity/subjectivity just cannot any longer offer us grounding or guidance. I will return to your points if/when I put the Secretary’s hat on next year, but for now I want only to debate the conditions under which we consider issues of manipulation re images we want to function as documents or evidence in the media economy.

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