Thursday, September 15, 2016

Pictures Say a Thousand Words but What Are They Saying

Michael Galloway

A picture says a thousand words, right? What exactly are those words? What is the message we get from pictures, and how can journalists manipulate those words?

In an article, we paint a picture in our heads based off of the journalist’s words. However, a tool that journalists utilize is pictures. A picture gives us a much more clear and concise image in our mind, but this image may not even be genuine.

Can you believe the picture you are seeing? Especially when it comes to photos of women, editors have a tendency to manipulate the pictures. Unfortunately, with modern day technology, it is far too easy to completely change what a model looks like.

In a video, you see women getting photoshopped. It is disturbing to see how drastically we can take photographs and completely manipulate them. It really makes one think about how pictures we see everyday that are not what they seem.

This technology has also been a large contributor to the fall of the self-confidence of young women in America. The idea of Photoshop was created to help enhance pictures; never was it anticipated that it could lead to such large issues within the American culture.

This draws up the issue of whether this is ethical or not. Some argue that it is just marketing; the sole intention of it is to make the product look better. However many make the argument that it is a lie. A lie breaks the central value of honesty. The break of that honesty can, and has had negative indirect consequences. Is that not breaking the ethics code? That is a personal question.

Besides making models look more attractive, Photoshop has been used to enhance a story, as well. Photojournalist Steve McCurry admitted to Photoshopping one of his most famous pieces, “Afghan Girl.” This raises the issue of how valid photos are in articles. What photos that we see every single day are actually legitimate?

The power of Photoshop is a scary thing. It's a computer program that can take any photo and completely change the essence of the photograph and make the story it tells morph into a brand new story. A whole story can be falsely created by this technology.

Another large value that is being challenged by this technology is transparency. One of the central values of journalism is transparency, the idea that, as journalists, we are honest and straightforward with our information. When a photo is manipulated, the very essence of the photo becomes false, destroying the sense of transparency of the journalist and their organization.

Where will the ever-changing media and technology take us next? What ethical issues will be dealt with next? Who is to say, it’s all in the pictures.

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