Assignment 1- 151mc Fred Richin – The Pixelated Press


Having read Fred Richin’s text I found that the over arching theme he presents is one of Truth and manipulation within the digital era “the viewer must question the photograph at the basic physical level of fact”.   He argues that “one cannot assume that the photograph is performing its traditional descriptive function, that what one sees is what was there.” With the rise of editing software , it is becoming more and more common place that photographs will have been edited in some way, but this causes a conflict within the viewer as to whether the image they are viewing is truth or not.

Richin points out “As Guenther Cartwright, a professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology who has purposefully altered photographs to provoke discussion, has put it, “One person’s enhancement is another person’s alteration.”  What is acceptable to one person may be seen as not so in another.

Referring to a famous image that was published on National Geographics front page Richin writes , “the 1982
National Geographic cover of the pyramids of Giza. In this case a horizontal photograph was made into a vertical image suitable for the cover by electronically moving one pyramid closer to the other. While Robert E. Gilka, at that time the magazine’s director of photography, referred to the introduction of such techniques as ” like limited nuclear warfare. There ain’t none,”   In other words, when it comes to manipulating images and thus the truth, it cannot be tactical adjustments but it is an all out assault on the image and therefore the truth is eroded.  This image caused controversy at the time and led to debate about the morality of manipulation.

Richin goes on to to state “Robert F. Brandt, managing editor of Newsday, one of the nation’s top newspapers, recently put it in the journal press time: “We’re a lot freer with feature-section design presentation than with news presentation. A double-truck spread in the food section in which clams and oysters are moved about for effect is not going to create a major ethics debate at our paper. We’re a lot less free with the live news photo on the news-section cover”. This suggests that there is more of a moral duty to represent the news in a more truthful way, than fashion or style features.

Over all, Richin presents a case that , in the Digital Age we are moving away from the Truth and that decisive moments in the news are not necessarily the point in which the photograph was taken , but the point at which it is modified.Thus leading to a whole new truth.

 

 

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