Tag: sport

Getty photographer fired over altered golf photo

by on Jul.20, 2010, under Insights

Peek-a-boo — now you see him, and now you don’t.

Read the full story here.

One of Getty’s freelance photographers, Marc Feldman, took multiple photos of golfer Matt Bettencourt at the same moment during the Reno-Tahoe Open golf tournament. In one he removed a distracting person from behind the golfer, in the other he left the photo as is. Photojournalistic policy and ethics follow the rule that the content of a photo should not bet edited, only exposure, contrast and minor color correction.

Should the photographer have altered the image? Was Getty right to hand him his pink slip? Should the truth of the situation take priority over aesthetics? Is Getty’s reaction appropriate? How important is the integrity of the photo?

I understand where Getty is coming from with my background in photojournalism. In the end he probably should be terminated since he took reprehensible actions regarding the manipulation of the photo. However, I don’t think this is as serious an infraction as others that have happened in recent years where photographers misrepresented a photo and the events transpiring it supposedly captured. Taking out the distracting figure doesn’t try to suggest something happened that didn’t. It looks better, but he shouldn’t have done it.

When I shoot a sport sometimes all my photos won’t be perfect and I just have to deal with it. Things happen very quickly and you just have to react. There isn’t always time to change position or get the ideal composition. A lot of times you have to do the best you can with what you have to work with.

This makes me wonder why the photographer made the change to the photo. Why alter the image? Was he not confident about his work? Did he realize what he was doing and the repercussions it might have?

If this wasn’t done for news purposes I wouldn’t really care what was changed to get a good photo. For a news or journalistic photo only the minimum should be done during editing. I definitely admire and respect a photographer more if they can get quality photos without much editing being done after taking them.

Take a look at this softball photo I took a while ago. This one I edited in a similar manner to the Getty photographer in Photoshop a few years ago. At the time it was a challenge to myself and a test of my Photoshop skills to see if I could edit the girl’s body out and it was never used in print or online. In other words for journalism it is ok to crop the pitcher to a vertical image, but not ok to remove the head from the horizontal photo. The logic here is a bit of a gray area. The ultimate goal is to uphold journalistic integrity.

Reporting and photographing anything for journalism is about telling the truth of what happened. Try and compose the best possible photo when taking the photo. If you have to do too much editing or change the background after taking the photo, then you didn’t take a high quality photo.

With everything we as photographers can do with Photoshop it has become a crutch. It’s hard to believe Photoshop is 20 years old and it has become second nature to use as a tool of photography. We can’t forget what it’s really about as a photojournalist. The truth, reality and accuracy of a photo are the most important aspects of reporting on an event. Film photography never allowed the creative liberties of Photoshop.

As Ansel Adams once said, “Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs.” The line is constantly blurring between art and truth in photography. This photographer being fired is an unfortunate example of upholding photographic standards. People have to trust that the news they are reading about is really an honest account. If they cannot then we are compromising our integrity and virtues as journalists.

[Editor’s note: Jeff Levy is a freelance photographer based in the central New Jersey. His work has appeared on D3football.com, D3hoops.com, NewJerseyNewsroom.com, Ultimate Athlete Magazine and the Erie Times-News just to name a few. You can find his photography portfolio on his website at jefflevyphoto.com]

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How the Internet has changed Photography and Sports

by on Jun.24, 2010, under Insights

23rd-seeded John Isner throws his arms up in celebration after defeating Nicolas Mahut in the longest match in the history of professional tennis.

23rd-seeded John Isner throws his arms up in celebration after defeating Nicolas Mahut in the longest match in the history of professional tennis. Photo by Suzanne Plunkett-Pool/Getty Images

So here I am at my “mobile office” in South Minneapolis having just witnessed the end of the longest professional tennis match in history, now a Goliath in terms of records:

  1. Most games in a match (163)
  2. Most games in a set (138)
  3. Longest match in terms of time played (11 hours, 05 minutes)
  4. Most aces in a match – pair (215)
  5. Most aces in a match – individual player (112 – John Isner; Nicolas Mahut had 103)

The line? Oh that’s really easy. It rolls right off the tongue: 6-4, 3-6, 6-7 (7-9), 7-6 (7-3), 70-68.

70-68? Yes, that’s right. 138 games in the final set.

But what does this have to do with how the internet has changed Photography and Sports in general? We’re in the midst of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. And I’m not there. But I have witnessed many tennis and soccer matches. Incredibly, all played on grass (not so incredible when you realize that all Wimbledon matches are on grass – the only ITA major played on grass courts), but more incredibly all watched via the internet in the Twin Cities.

The local ABC affiliate has dropped “normal” programming on the weekends to show FIFA action, which is fine if you are near a TV on the weekends and we’ve had too nice of weekends the last few weeks to allow for inside sport watching. But did they drop airing “The View” for the USA-Algeria match yesterday morning? No.

The internet has turned us into a “must have it right now” generation. From standard photography (i.e. digital photography) to our terminal love for sport (golf, football, tennis, soccer, baseball, basketball) we want to see it right here, right now on whatever we have available at our finger tips.

News. Photos. Videos. If it happened five minutes ago, we want it yesterday. There was a time in the newsprint industry that newspapers had evening editions to get that breaking news out there. Television helped do away with that tradition.

Like it or not, we are in a cut-throat world of get the images, results, everything (often including the kitchen sink) out onto the air waves, the internet, into the editor’s hands as quickly as possible to “steal” the news cycle.

It’s a world of adapt or go home. We can’t survive out there as easily anymore recording on analog anything. Digital photography, digital video, digital audio recorders, high speed internet access, live streams with (or without) commentary. If you don’t have it, the fans won’t come to you as their resource.

But if you have it, and you have it first, then you are at the top of the heap reaping the benefits of the public eye. And, in the case of one of our partners, the occasional overwhelming crush of traffic that brings one of the few caveats that comes with the attention.

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