(Roughly) Daily

The eyes have it…

From 10,000 Words (“where journalism and technology meet”), a look at “10 News photos that took retouching too far“:

Many news photographs are Photoshopped here and there to increase clarity or to optimize for print or online display. But there have been several instances where retouching has been pushed too far, changing the original intent or accuracy of the photo.

Among the before-and-after examples:

From USA Today

and this, from the Toledo Blade:

Read the back-stories, and check out the other eight, here.

In many newsrooms it is unethical to pass off a retouched photo as reality. Ideally, retouching of a news photograph should be limited to basic exposure and color correction, cropping, resizing, or conversion to grayscale. Any Photoshopping that alters the meaning of the original photo should be labeled as a “news illustration” in the caption so the viewer understands the photo has been altered.

Retouching may seem innocent, but can have a profound effect on the way we remember an event, according to a 2007 study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology.

“Any media that employ digitally doctored photographs will have a stronger effect than merely influencing our opinion – by tampering with our malleable memory, they may ultimately change the way we recall history,” said researcher Dario Sacchi.

For more on the ethics of news photography, check out the National Press Photographers Association’s code of ethics.

As we reconsider the evidence of our own eyes, we might recall that on this date in 1775, via a resolution submitted to the Continental Congress by Richard Henry Lee, the “United Colonies” of America (which had it’s own currency; c.f. the $2 note below) changed it’s name to the “United States” — a masterstroke of re-branding.


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