Tuesday, July 20, 2010

BP Guilty of What?

When photographers working for corporate clients get a request to digitally alter an image, it gets done, plain and simple. Now, that photograph should never be presented as an unretouched image to editorial/news outlets, but if the purpose of the photograph is to have the image placed on a corporate website for marketing purposes, then while people have a right to beware, the company is not, for a minute, holding out a "handout" photo as unretouched, unless it says so, or the photographer presenting the image says so.

So BP gets in a bit of hot water with their retouching, here - BP's Photoshopped Crisis Command Center Is Terrible On Every Level, but what's the problem?

For me, when I do work for a corporate client, and I make that image available to a news outlet, I have not ever, nor would I ever, allow an image to be manipulated in any way beyond a standard set of guidelines that are familiar to those in the news media, and dropping in a screen would be a big big no-no. I have, on more than one occasion, told a corporate client I could not do something they asked because the intended recipient was a news outlet. However, if the intended recipient is a corporate website, then things as simple as removing blemishes on a portrait and as extensive as merging images, is completely within bounds.

It seems that BP placed a photo on their website, and it was either an old one with new screen grabs added in, or the metadata that was added was wrong. Either way though, it's marketing materials, plain and simple. If someone wants a news photograph, then you have to call in a news photographer - either a freelancer with a trusted track record, or one on staff for a news outlet. While I think that the only thing BP is guilty of is bad photoshop work, what do you think?
(Comments, if any, after the Jump)

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