Filtered to the point of no return

Through the use of photojournalism the extent of reality then has the ability to become distorted to the public’s eye. Nowadays there are several ways to manipulate a photo to your preference such as Photoshop, Instagram, and VISCO. Before reading the articles: News Images on Instagram: the Paradox of Authenticity in Hyperreal Photo Reportage and Mini Camera and Maxi Minds: Citizen Photojournalism and the Public Sphere, I had never taken the serious impact of the manipulation of photos into account. Photography, in my mind, is viewed as a way of capturing a moment in time to further the knowledge to the public. However, photos aren’t simply put on display for the public as soon as it happens, and because of that there is room for manipulation and distortion to the authenticity of the photograph. This correlates with the term “hyperreal” which is “… a version of the world that is assumed to be real but it nonetheless distorted and exaggerated to the extent that it becomes hyperreal” (Borges-Rey 577). Now that this concept comes into play it becomes more difficult to distinguish the line in which not to cross. As we talked about hyperreal photos I started to think, “Is it better to have a hyperreal photo in circulation to the public or no photography at all? With this question in mind I found myself debating with the boundaries of photojournalism, so then I turned to the readings to help with that determination.

Often times the public relies on photography to dish out the cold hard truth with what is happening in the world. Before digital imaging was in practice, the photograph that was placed in front of you in the newspaper or on TV was, most likely, untouched and preserved its authenticity. On the other hand, it may not have been as clear as some of the images we see today used to circulate information. As Borges-Rey stated, “The presence of grainy pixels gives greater authenticity” (Borges-Rey 574) demonstrating how times have changed in the world of photojournalism. News reporting platforms such as CNN IReport has very clear images to go with their stories, but the extent of which it was manipulated is unknown to the public. This is a bit scary, because in a sense I feel like I am being lied to when looking for reliable news. According to Paschalidis,

“…. Seamless manipulation of photographs, he argues, would undermine photography’s long-established perception as “a generally trustworthy unbiased transcriber of reality” and shake public trust in the traditionally prized accuracy and veracity of journalistic and documentary photographs” (Paschalidis 637)

This quote encompasses the issue with the integrity when using photos in journalism nowadays and how it is difficult to know when to trust a source, because it can be so easily manipulated for the public.

Instagram and Photoshop are two outlets in which photos can become distorted and are commonly used in today’s society. I am quite fond of Instagram, but thinking back to all the times in which I utilized a filter to make myself look better or to make the background seem more vibrant to generate likes is disheartening. Photoshop has generated controversy over the years, because it’s been used to change the appearance of people’s bodies in order to sell a product or endorse an idea. Another example of distorting photos is through the use of Snapchat. Snapchat is known for having filters to enhance the “average” picture. Often times I will use filters to make myself look slimmer or to erase any imperfections on my face. By doing this I am messing with people’s perception of myself and that is something I am started to notice all over the media.

There are professional photographers and there are amateur photographers, a distinction is present, but today that distinction is being blurred. Even though I am still learning and understanding citizen journalism, I would have never thought about the implications toward photojournalism; even though photographs are so prominent in the news in which we see every day. The art of manipulation is practiced by most, whether it is inherent or accidental. As Paschalidis states, “The crisis of photojournalism due to digital imaging has been making headlines for the past three decades” (Paschalidis 637) showing the strong impact it has been having on society for some time. Ethics have even been questioned on this subject because as stated above, there are boundaries in photojournalism, but determining what is too far takes more investigation as photography becomes even more integrated into our society. Even though I am aware of photojournalism, there are so many aspects that need to be investigated to fully understand the dos and don’ts of photography used in journalism.

 

Borges-Rey, Eddy. “News Images on Instagram: The paradox of authenticity in hyperreal photo reportage.” Digital Journalism 3.4 (2015): 571-593.

Paschalidis, Gregory. “Mini Cameras and Maxi Minds: Citizen photojournalism and the public sphere.” Digital Journalism 3.4 (2015): 634-652.

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