Today's episode of Little Miss Know-it-All: I SHOULDN'T LOOK THE WAY I REALLY LOOK IN PICTURES! PHOTOJOURNALISTS SHOULD PRESENT AN INCORRECT IMAGE OF ME! YES, THEY SHOULD! YES, THEY SHOULD!
Before I start, I am going to acknowledge that I do not have nearly as much experience in photojournalism as some of my readers. I know that some of you are professional photographers, and I invite your responses. I personally have no more hands-on experience than anyone else who has worked as a reporter at a weekly newspaper, although I did take classes in photojournalism in j-school. I would not want to give anyone the impression that I have a lot of experience in this field.
Our friends at Fox News are very, very upset about this Newsweek cover. They think it makes Ms. Palin look terrible.
Yeah, I was confused, too. Ms. Palin is a former beauty queen; although I've been clear about the way I feel about her, I can't deny that she is attractive.
Apparently Fox News and the Republicans are furious, because this photo was not retouched.
Yeah, I'm still confused, too. The picture looks really nice to me. I don't see a need to retouch it. And even if it was a bad photo, retouching is against photojournalism ethics.
This clip has to be seen to be believed, but in case you're at work, here are some of the points the reporter (!!!) made:
- You can't actually see the problems on TV, so you'll have to trust her. (Actually, you shouldn't trust her. I've posted the photo, so you can see it for yourself.)
- Barack Obama was on Newsweek's cover and they literally put a halo on him. (No, they didn't. The image is backlit. You can see it clearly in this clip.)
- Any respectable magazine should be retouching its photos. THAT'S WHAT MAGAZINES DO. (Uh...not news magazines, dummy. You must be thinking of Cosmo.)
- Barack Obama looks perfect on ALL magazine covers! (Really? Are those wrinkles? Does he have a wart?)
- The article is really mean, but does offer a counter-point from Karl Rove. (I can't tell. Is this supposed to be a positive thing?)
I keep thinking that this is a joke, but apparently it's all real. I'll go really slowly, because, after all, it IS Fox News:
Ms. Palin is beautiful.
This photo is really nice.
Retouching news photos is unethical.
Photo editing is an art. Editors choose photos to tell a story, and some minor manipulation is allowed. For example, a photo can be cropped or blown up. It can be published in black & white instead of full colour. Some publications allow photos to be flipped; others do not. Combining or retouching photos is a definite no-no. Photo illustrations have to be clearly labelled. The fundamental principle is that news photos should accurately reflect a moment, even if they were taken in a photo shoot, like this one obviously was.
Photo editors also have a lot of freedom in selecting images: they are in no way required to choose photos that are flattering, although most try not to publish pictures that are ugly. This particular photo looks like it's from the same set as the cover shot from a few weeks ago:
This cover shot was also very nice, and I didn't hear any screaming about it. But then, that was before Ms. Palin showed herself to be one of the stupidest people I've ever seen in national politics.
Normally we don't see our female politicians as pin-up models who need every "flaw" to be airbrushed away, but apparently that's how Fox News and this disgusting Republican strategist see Ms. Palin. She's a celebrity who should be looked at, not listened to. It's an insult to publish photos of her unless they've been retouched.
I suspect that if Ms. Palin was capable of stringing a sentence together, nobody would care how pretty she is.
(H/T to Bloggasm.)