Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Girl's basketball

    Photography.  It's all about the critical moment, and the light, and the composition, and the subject, and the background, and the color, and other things as well, but it varies from picture to picture.
This picture has most of those things going for it, apart from the background.  I feel very strongly that people in the backgrounds of my pictures should only be allowed to wear black or other very dark clothing.  In addition it is of vital importance that they never, never, never (unless I think it is okay) be allowed to carry bright yellow objects into the background of one of my photographs.  It is as if no one out there can read my mind.  Because if they could read my mind they would understand how crazy, insane, and rude it is to carry a bright object into the background of an otherwise good photograph.
    There are people today who may roll there eyes at my hysterical tirade, they may say "why don't you just Photoshop the yellow bag out of the picture?"  To anyone who would say such a blasphemous things I would point out that in life there is the wide road and the narrow road, there is also a wide road and narrow road in photography.  The professional photojournalist is supposed to follow the narrow road, with a tightly defined set of ethical principles guiding our behavior.
One of the most important rules is that you cannot digitally alter images.  Radical toning is termed "The Hand of God," and no one should attempt to play God.  The evil of adding or subtracting parts of a photograph is so bad it only has a descriptive name, "digital manipulation."  Although it may not hurt anyone as much as manipulating a persons fingers out of alignment, it is a very BIG no no.
    As a photographic puritan I may be unhappy that an gaudy yellow bag polluted my picture, but at least I have my self-righteous pride.
     As an ointment for my inner artist's tortured soul I tell myself the reason true photojournalists adhere to a strict code of conduct is to maintain journalistic standards of integrity.  The real question behind adding or subtracting elements within a photograph is about our integrity and how much it is worth.  If we are willing to alter a photograph because of an aesthetic preference then we could not be trusted to accurately portray important events.  Whether anyone likes to believe it or not, our whole society, and our understanding of the world is all based on trust.  Especially trust in the people who tell us about the events in the world.  Whether covering an earthquake in Haiti, or a girls basketball game in West Michigan, the most important thing, the only real thing, journalists have is integrity.

--Darren Breen

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