Ideally, a photograph is the untouched, unmanipulated transcript of what was there. Except, says Larry Gross, everybody knows there are elements of selection built in.
Now computer algorithms are being developed to check an image’s veracity. It’s not fool-proof, but at least there is now a way to stall, albeit temporarily, those who wish to deceive us with their “photoshopped” images.
Here is what I think – it’s ok to manipulate images. No, really. It’s ok. Just don’t call it photojournalism. Call it art, with a capital “A” if you want to. That’s fine by me. Photojournalism for me will always remain a practice of capturing and bearing witness to a scene, situation or a sequence of events without any overt guidance or direction from the photographer.
It’s harder to do, no doubt, these days given the kinds of editorial deadlines we face and the financial risk some photographers assume when they drop into disaster zones or the battlefront. Resist that temptation. Be true to your metier. Consider it a professional courtesy to your colleagues and foremost to yourself that you do not cheat.