This is awful! it is lying. I know the photos, described here, were only taken a few seconds apart. BUT, I and any other serious photographer, likes to be believed, when you are trying to tell a tale. To accurately describe how it is! Integrity is so important with these matters, we are not just talking about ‘art’ were anything goes to produce ‘interesting work’. Documentary Photography and News are supposed to function to different / higher rules.

Duncan Campbell in Los Angeles

Thursday April 3, 2003

The Guardian

The Los Angeles Times has sacked a battlefront photographer for altering a photograph which showed a British soldier telling Iraqi civilians to take cover from Iraqi fire. The photo appeared on the front page of the newspaper on Monday.

Brian Walski, an experienced news photographer who had been on the LA Times staff since 1998, was contacted by telephone in Iraq by the paper after questions were raised about the photo.

It was noticed that a number of the Iraqi civilians in the background of the picture appeared twice.

According to a statement on the front page of yesterday’s LA Times, Walski “acknowledged that he had used his computer to combine elements of two photographs, taken moments apart, in order to improve the composition”.

The dramatic photo shows a British soldier manning the Zubayr bridge and cautioning Iraqis to take cover by stretching out his arm. An Iraqi man can be seen in a crouching position clutching his child. The headline beneath the photo read: “In Basra, Panic as a Tactic of War.”

Yesterday the LA Times published the two photos that Walski had used to make his single image.

In the original photo where the British soldier is making his gesture, the Iraqi man is looking the other way and is in the background.

In the image that appeared on the front page, the Iraqi man and child have been brought forward to create a more dramatic composition. It is only on close study that it is possible to see that some of the people in the background appear twice.

Walski, an award winning photographer, has covered international stories including the Gulf war, the famine in Somalia, the funeral of Princess Diana and the conflicts in Northern Ireland and Kashmir. An LA Times spokeswoman could not say whether he had left Iraq.

The LA Times, like most big American newspapers, has a policy which forbids the alteration of news photos.

The Guardian has a similar policy. “All the desks are under instructions from the editor not to alter news photos,” said Roger Tooth, head of photography at the Guardian.

He said that it was now easier than ever for photographers to alter photos.,3604,928392,00.html

Editor’s Note – Los Angeles Times

On Monday, March 31, the Los Angeles Times published a front-page photograph that had been altered in violation of Times policy.

The primary subject of the photo was a British soldier directing Iraqi civilians to take cover from Iraqi fire on the outskirts of Basra. After publication, it was noticed that several civilians in the background appear twice. The photographer, Brian Walski, reached by telephone in southern Iraq, acknowledged that he had used his computer to combine elements of two photographs, taken moments apart, in order to improve the composition.

Times policy forbids altering the content of news photographs. Because of the violation, Walski, a Times photographer since 1998, has been dismissed from the staff. The altered photo, along with the two photos that were used to produce it, are below:

The actual photographs

. .

The Altered Photo

* * * * * *

The National Union of Journalist [NUJ] in this country, also has an attitude about these matters, and the guidelines are laid-out here. I am a member and I follow them!!

Marking manipulated photographs – NUJ

My ‘news / doc photographs’ and PhotoShop work, are in entirely different pages within my site. No confusion.

I feel so strongly about this sort of thing, that I have laid out out a page, dealing with these and associated issues. You see it matters so much. Say if I was to go to court of someones behalf, with a digital image, will a jury trust me? Policeman are having to deal with these issues also. Perhaps I should compare notes 🙂

Digital Imaging & Evidence