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Toledo Blade photog quits after altering picture

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Mooninite, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. Mooninite

    Mooninite Member

    Toledo Blade photographer Allan Detrich calls it quits after one of his doctored photos makes it on the front page of "One of America's Great Newspapers"

    Here's the story from Editor and Publisher...

    And the photos themselves...
  2. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    For starters, if Jack Lessenberry is the ombudsman, the Blade has deeper issues than legs behind a banner...
  3. ondeadline

    ondeadline Well-Known Member

    I know altering photos is a no-no. But a firing here strikes me as a bit harsh.
  4. Mooninite

    Mooninite Member

    Actually he quit. Not sure if he was pushed or not. But its a slippery slope. If the reader knows this photo has been altered, won't they think maybe other photos were altered in the past also?
  5. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    He resigned once the paper launched an investigation into the rest of his work. Substantively retouching your own work before you file is the photographic equivalent of plagiarism, so I'm not sure there were any options other than firing or resignation.
  6. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    I wonder why you'd remove the legs in the first place. Would anyone's attention be focused there anyway? Low reward, high risk to me.

    A firing seems harsh, but reading between the lines makes me think there'll be more incidents found. He seemed too willing to "put that behind me," as he put it.
  7. Johnny Dangerously

    Johnny Dangerously Well-Known Member

    The photographers I know obsess over shooting the perfect photo, and that includes composition (which often you have little control over unless it's a still life). Sometimes they worry too much for "flaws." It's life.

    Remember the photo of the man grieving over the death of his little boy, who was run over by a school bus? One of the people who was against using the photo cited a flaw in the photo, some unidentified clutter in the lower right corner, as I recall.

    We have clip files. They have portfolios. They enter contests, just like we do. And they do seek the perfect shot. Sometimes it can lead to something like this.
  8. fishwrapper

    fishwrapper Active Member

    I may differ here.
    But, papers these days must have a "zero tolerance policy" when it comes to credibility issues.
    I/we would have had no choice but to "involuntarily separate" with the photographer. 10-20 years ago? It would have gone unnoticed. And if it didn't, would have registered.
  9. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    Perhaps because I'm a suck photographer I won't ever really get it, but would the legs really be considered a flaw any more than the grass or the banners or anything else? Or maybe it's just their "gotta be perfect" mentality. I guess I'd never be comfortable enough shopping something out, knowing that there's a decent chance someone could see an anomaly in the area I did the fix (fence isn't perfectly rendered, dandelion splits in half randomly, something like that).
  10. 21

    21 Well-Known Member

    Just asking: Is there a big difference between editing out the legs, and 'cleaning up' inarticulate quotes (removing the ummms, slang, curses)?

    In either case you're altering something.
  11. Mystery_Meat

    Mystery_Meat Guest

    If you want to make the case, in the former you're cleaning up something that on its own would be hard to understand, while in the latter you're just fucking around with something that doesn't impact the shot at all.

    The analogy would be changing the gametime temperature in the boxscore from 69 to 67 because you don't like what 69 implies.
  12. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    It's a matter of degree, I think, and I'm not sure there's a straight analogy.

    The equivalent of cleaning up a quote in photographic terms might be in how you choose to crop the photo to fit the space. Or in "burning" or "dodging" the hotspots or underexposed portions of a print. The difference in most circumstances for a newspaper photographer being that even those small things are done once the raw pictures are filed, untouched, and under the supervision of photo editor.

    Taking the legs out of this photo is more along the lines of purposely misquoting someone.

    "I'm...an alcoholic," said Smith.

    "I'm anything but an alcoholic," said Smith.
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