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Photo Manipulation

Links to pages discussing manipulation of pictures and photographs, including ethical considerations.

Also some thoughts of my own.

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Chastain, Sue. "The Ethics of Digital Photo Manipulation." What You Need To Know About..., 2003. <> (20 December 2003).
Good set of links for those investigating ethical issues.

Danielson, Stentor. "Shark 'Photo of the Year' Is E-Mail Hoax." National Geographic News, August 15, 2002. <> (6 January 2003).

Johnson, Doug. "Resources for teaching ethics to children and young adults : Property Scenario 1." September 16, 2002.<> (20 December 2003).

Lodriguss, Jerry. "The Ethics of Digital Image Manipulation." Catching the Light, 2003. <> (23 December 2003).

Meltzer, Bonnie. "Digital Photography: A Question of Ethics." From Now On, 6 (8), May 1997. <>(20 December 2003).

Mr. Photo Fix-it. "Photo repair and restoration." <> (23 December 2003).
An interesting look at the before and after of photo restoration for legitimate purposes.

Sreenivasan,Sree. "Photo Ethics.", April 2, 2003. <> (23 December 2003).

"Standard loses bottle." Freelance, 6 October 1966. <> (23 December 2003).

"Statement of Journalistic Ethics: Manipulation of Photographic Images." The Daily Press, Inc. News Department, n.d. <> (23 December 2003).

"Urban Legends Reference Pages: Rumors of War (The Accidental Tourist)." Urban Legends Reference Pages, 20 November 2001. <> (10 November 2003).

Some thoughts of my own.

Photo manipulation is not new. As long as photographers have used filters, have cropped pictures, have used darkroom techniques and have played with chemicals, they have been able to alter the picture, change what the camera sees or saw. What is new with digital photography is that more people can do more things to alter their pictures. They do not need specialised knowledge, they just need a computer and photo imaging software.

In many cases, the intention is to make a better picture, aesthetically speaking. Ethical considerations come into play when the intention is not to make a better picture but to alter the picture and mislead the viewer. In the world of movies and television photo manipulation may be known as "special effects", and most viewers know they are being misled!

The reader might find these issues discussed in books on digital photography.  Although many books on general photography include how-to-do-it sections on photo manipulation, few of them discuss ethical considerations.


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John Royce, BA, MLib, MCLIP
Library Director, Robert College
Arnavutköy, TR-34345 Istanbul, Turkey.

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It was last revised on 24 December 2003.