Getty Images, one of the two power-house photo agencies in the US is facing a barrage of questions from photo editors across the nation about their business dealings conflicting with their editorial decisions. As a wire service, hundreds of newspapers depend on the news feed Getty Images provides. But recently there have been charges that Getty Images which has business relationships with the National Hockey League (NHL) and the National Basketball Association (NBA), has failed to send through their service some poignant and editorially important images.
The most recent controversy sprung from the lack of images from the infamous ice hockey game between the Vancouver Canucks and Colorado Avalanche. Colarado’s Steve Moore was sucker punched by Todd Bertuzzi of the Canucks. Moore fell face forward and broke his neck and ended his season. But curiously there were no images of this particular incident on the Getty wire service. Naturally Colorado papers using the service will be miffed.
Is Getty Images censoring their own photographers, on behalf of their business partners – the NHL, the NBA or more recently the Major League Baseball (MLB)? Who looses in the end? Not only do the photographers loose the sale of the image nation or even world-wide, but so does the audience from seeing what happened. While I am open to the idea of promoting businesses, I get antsy when editorial freedom gets curbed in the process. It kills the notion of ‘what you see is what you get’ and that’s plain troubling. It’s time to revisit our Ethics 101 books about this.