Everyone has heard the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words." This saying is especially true for journalists in today's society. With every magazine cover, newscast, blog post, tweet, or Instagram post, photos are more prominent than ever. When someone is reading an article, the very first thing they look at is the photo that goes along with the article. But, where is the fine line you draw between posting the most graphic photo that speaks a thousand words, versus the less dramatic photo that doesn't show as much as it should. Newsrooms and editors are faced with many challenges and decisions over the use of certain images. Just like many of us social media users, we are faced with questions whether or not to Instagram or tweet certain pictures.
To Post or Not to Post
After reading the several articles posted about truth in pictures, I realized the effect photos have on not just journalists, but editors and audiences as well. How photographers feel versus the way a citizen reading or looking at the photo feels is totally different. Many of us have seen disclaimers in magazines or in the beginning of a newscast. This is how many newsrooms handle graphic images of violence. This is true especially after traumatic events like 9/11 or shootings around the world. With 9/11 being last week, I thought it would be a good example to share some photos that were posted on The Huffington Post with the disclaimer above,"WARNING: the below images contain graphic content." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/9-11-photos_us_55f188fae4b093be51bdc09b
It's so easy to change the looks of photos, especially of people, due to photoshop. This is so popular in photojournalism. Photoshop can make anyone or anything look completely transformed into something. It's very easy to manipulate photographs into something that they are not.
The article that I got the most out of was, "Who Can Improve On Nature? Magazine Editors," by Christine Haughney. Photoshop is used in almost every newsroom and is used more than ever in women's magazines. Younger people in the journalism profession are so used to using photoshop, they consider it apart of their job. Although, certain magazines like Seventeen made an announcement that they "never change girls" body or face shapes in the magazine. There is a big debate in women's magazines where models are transformed to look younger, thinner and blemish free. Images become a heightened version of the truth in today's society.
According to the article, retouching has become so prevalent on editorial pages that the magazine industry executives have considered introducing certain guidelines on what is considered acceptable. Photoshop can be used to remove braces, make your legs look skinnier or even make your face look thinner. Celebrities are very critical of the way they look on magazine covers and always are striving toward perfection. This is where Photoshop comes into play and can create false realities of photos. The article also states that the increased manipulation of images has conditioned the readers to expect not an accurate photo but a photo that is a heightened version of the truth.