15 January 2012

HDR Photojournalism?

Susan Brannon
15 January 2012

To my great sadness, I want to point out that The Washington Post printed a photograph on the front page that was in HDR format. This is clearly altering an image by combining several images into one. It is done to create a "sharper" and greater photographic moment than the reality of the subject. Many Landscape photographers use this technique and as a result there are many beautiful landscape images out there, but they are not real. For me, the HDR image looks a bit "surreal".

However, in photojournalism to alter an image is a great "phoo-pah" and the publishing of such an image on the front page of a newspaper (any newspaper) is like a slap in the face to me. Do the editors laugh at us while they make decisions to print such an image? They did say that the image was "composite". I am a true bread photojournalist who first shot with slides and mailed them in, then film and went to the press office, then in digital that I had to spend tons of my precious earnings on new equipment and continue to do so, in order to make the "news" in "real time".

This is a slap in our ethical code that I proudly stand by, of not altering any image for the news. Not a beep, not a color, no clipping, no cropping, and in RAW. That is the true art of a good photojournalist, to tell the story as it is, to reflect the reality and to record history as it happens.

For me, this is a sad day. Please read more about the image here: Poynter Institute

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