Hipstamatic and a question for news organizations


General Photography

It appears there will be a Hipstamatic Foundation for Photojournalism. Is that a good idea? The British Journal of Photography asked a diverse group of people, which yields a predictable range of opinions. There’s one interesting nugget, near the end, where Chris Anderson notes “There is a reason I read The New York Times. Sure they may make mistakes, and I may not always agree with their editorial page, but they make an attempt at accuracy and objectivity. They may not always get it right, but their reputation - indeed their business - depends on doing every thing they can to be as accurate and objective as possible.” And this might really where it truly gets interesting. (more)

We can talk about photography as much as we want, but any photojournalist can tell you that what appears in print (or on websites) is the result of decisions by (often very powerful) photo editors. Which brings me to my point here: Hipstamatic photographs are very obviously - and openly - heavily manipulated. There’s absolutely no question about that. The photographers in question might say that it’s all about their own vision. That is of course true, but irrelevant. Just ask Edgar Martins. The simple fact remains that the images are heavily manipulated - and please let’s not get into a “my manipulation is better - or more valid - than their manipulation” debate.

So here’s my question:

Dear news organizations (New York Times, Time, Newsweek, et al.), is publishing such heavily manipulated images compatible with your journalistic ethics, standards, and integrity? If, yes why? If no, why not? In particular, if yes why is such heavy-handed manipulation allowed, but when someone heavily Photoshops an image (let’s say to boost the contrast in massive ways) that’s not allowed?
Just to make this clear (to avoid this from the start): We’re here talking about Hipstamatic style manipulations, not about cloning or erasing. I’d really love to hear from news organizations about this.

I personally can live with news organizations telling me it’s allowed or it’s not allowed. I just need to hear the reasoning.

PS: I’ve read a lot about how some photojournalists say that using an iPhone is just easier because it’s smaller, and it allows better shooting. I have no problem with that. It is my understanding that the iPhone takes great photographs - the basic factory setting (where the camera operates just like your digital camera) is just fine.