Truth and Integrity – Is Seeing Believing?

It was a sad day when I read about award winning photographer Souvid Datta infringing on another photographer’s work by using elements of their photographs and claiming that the photos were his. In the age of “fake news” Datta erodes the integrity of the profession of photojournalism and the reputation of dedicated photojournalists who risk their lives taking photographs that create awareness of the travesties in the world.

I was further bothered by Datta’s explanation in an interview he did for Time magazine. Using his lack of knowledge because of his youth and inexperience is no excuse for his actions. There are too many articles online about ethics and copyright to excuse his ignorance, especially for someone who admittedly learned Photoshop techniques on You Tube.

While I’m glad that he eventually told the truth, there’s nothing commendable about doing so after getting caught in a lie. There is no turning back of the clock or enough apologies that will undo the damage this has done to the profession of photojournalism.

It is easy to manipulate images and seeing is believing is no longer true.Arthur County, Nebraska In an age where many if not most images have been greatly altered or composited, we’ve become somewhat jaded by a real image that is straight out of the camera. Manipulation has become the norm but it should never be accepted in journalism.

I’m not a photojournalist and have on occasion altered my images, but I’m most proud of the images that I shot that have not been manipulated.

Marathon swimming, East River, New York City

Nowadays, folks who look at the images contained in this blog will assume that they are composites – but they’re not. It took a lot of skill to produce them along with a bit of luck.

What’s Next for Still Photography? Things We Could Never Begin to Imagine.

One of the only good things about getting older is that I have gained a lot of perspective. Fortune teller through window, Atlantic City, NJ I never speculate what the future will hold by limiting it to what’s possible now because…..

When I began studying photography at Brooks Institute in the early 1970’s

I never would have imagined:

  • That I would own a personal computer that would change the way I communicated with people and ran my business.
  • There would be the Internet, email and mobile phones.
  • There would be auto-focus cameras and lenses.
  • Cameras would be fully automated – if you so choose to use them that way. When I began my career as a photographer, I needed to be a technician, and that meant understanding aperture and shutter speed and a lot of other things that went into making a still image.
  • I would be shooting still images without film.
  • I wouldn’t be limited to 36 frames on a roll of film.
  • I could change the ISO on my camera, as need be.
  • I could change the white balance on my camera, as need be. (No need for different types of film)
  • I wouldn’t need to “get it right” in the camera because I could “fix it later in post” with Photoshop or hundreds of other apps.
  • I could see what I shot – right after I shot it.  Without waiting for the film to come back from the lab or taking Polaroids.
  • There would be data cards and hard drives able to store thousands of images at affordable prices.
  • I could transmit my images digitally and globally with ease and speed.
  • I could share my portfolio electronically with virtually anyone, anywhere in the world.
  • That still cameras would be able to shoot video.
  • That video cameras would be able to shoot at high resolution with fast shutter speeds – good enough to take still images from the frame grabs.
  • My mobile phone would be able to shoot high res still images and video.
  • Magazines and newspapers would publish electronically,  running stories online with static and moving imagery  – and sound.
  • I would be able to watch a movie in my own home.  (without being wealthy enough to build a home theater with analog projector and sound system).  This was before the VCR and DVR were invented.
  • That feature movies and TV shows (other than soap operas) would be shot in video.
  • I would be able to make a feature length film without a Hollywood budget and big crew.
  • I could self-publish and distribute a book or a movie without a publisher or movie studio.
  • My TV would have access to the Internet (I couldn’t even imagine the Internet)
  • The Internet would give birth to  “new networks” producing original content.
  • I would be competing and doing business on a global scale  – as a small business owner.

A lot of the things I listed seem commonplace or even old technology nowadays.  But, I when I first began my career as a photographer, I never would have imagined any of them – not in my wildest dreams.

What do you imagine the future will bring?  There’s one thing for certain, if you limit your imagination to what’s possible now – you probably won’t even come close to what’s in store in the future.