What are the rules?

 Photo & graphy: writing with light. an art form that directly represented the world in a way other art forms had not.

Does photography represent the truth?

Since photography was invented there has been debate about its purpose & function. And varying interpretations about what is ethical and unethical.

A Brief History of Fakery: A historical look at the issue in the New York Times


Why is it important to have a philosophy of ethics behind what you do? Because images affect how people think and feel about the events happening in our world, and the people who take part in them. 



race & stereotypes


OJ simpson covers


Bronx documentary center

150 years of manipulated images






Different org and contests have different standards

Australian professional photography awards won by a photo illustrator



communication arts


emma gonzlez fake twitter photo after anti-gun

David Moynihan professor called it out on twitter


AFP – verifying accuracy in Syria coverage


Use a software called Tungstene to catch manipulation: http://time.com/3897858/photo-expert-a-manipulated-image-is-not-necessarily-a-lie/


Example of a north Korean military exercise where hovercraft were manipulated



Used to discredit image of osama bin laden that circulated on twitter

- A photo of the dead Osama bin Laden published on the Internet on May 2, 2011, was reputedly a doctored image, part of which was an archived picture of his face pasted onto another individual's body. This marriage of two separate images became an iconic picture of the dead Al-Qaida leader.


World Press Photo

In 2015 contest, 20 of 92 finalists were rejected upon review of raw files

22% of entries.

There is a problem: some deliberate attempts to mislead, others a mixed interpretation of what is permitted


Truth and accuracy in representation

Giovannie Toilo disqualified  in world press for “Dark Heart of Europe

He stills lists a sony contest award on his site : http://www.giovannitroilo.com/news/

An article about this: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/03/05/arts/design/world-press-photo-revokes-prize.html


The essay on his website: http://www.giovannitroilo.com/la-ville-noire/


Caption on car pic changed


Original: “Locals know of parking lots popular for couples seeking sexual liaisons.”


On website: “my cousin agreed to be photographed while having sex with a girl in his friend’s car. For him it was not strange.”


Photo of philippe:


Original: “Philippe lives in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the town.”


Website: “Philippe in his beautiful house in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Charleroi”


Photo of police officer


Original: “A police officer, some minutes before charging against rioting football fans.”


Website: “one of a thousand police officers in Charleroi”


Below are summaries of the ethical standard s for both the National Press Photographers Association (www.nppa.org/professional_development/business_practices/digitalethics) and the Associated Press (www.ap.org/newsvalues)




As journalists we believe the guiding principle of our profession is accuracy; therefore, we believe it is wrong to alter the content of a photograph in any way that deceives the public.

As photojournalists, we have the responsibility to document society and to preserve its images as a matter of historical record. It is clear that the emerging electronic technologies provide new challenges to the integrity of photographic images … in light of this, we the National Press Photographers Association, reaffirm the basis of our ethics: Accurate representation is the benchmark of our profession. We believe photojournalistic guidelines for fair and accurate reporting should be the criteria for judging what may be done electronically to a photograph. Altering the editorial content … is a breach of the ethical standards recognized by the NPPA.


  1. Be accurate and comprehensive in the representation of subjects.
  2. Resist being manipulated by staged photo opportunities.
  3. Be complete and provide context when photographing or recording subjects. Avoid stereotyping individuals and groups. Recognize and work to avoid presenting one’s own biases in the work.
  4. Treat all subjects with respect and dignity. Give special consideration to vulnerable subjects and compassion to victims of crime or tragedy. Intrude on private moments of grief only when the public has an overriding and justifiable need to see.
  5. While photographing subjects do not intentionally contribute to, alter, or seek to alter or influence events.
  6. Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images’ content and context. Do not manipulate images or add or alter sound in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.
  7. Do not pay sources or subjects or reward them materially for information or participation.
  8. Do not accept gifts, favors, or compensation from those who might seek to influence coverage.
  9. Do not intentionally sabotage the efforts of other journalists.




The content of a photograph must not be altered in PhotoShop or by any other means. No element should be digitally added to or subtracted from any photograph. The faces or identities of individuals must not be obscured by PhotoShop or any other editing tool. Only retouching or the use of the cloning tool to eliminate dust and scratches are acceptable.

Minor adjustments in PhotoShop are acceptable. These include cropping, dodging and burning, conversion into grayscale, and normal toning and color adjustments that should be limited to those minimally necessary for clear and accurate reproduction (analogous to the burning and dodging often used in darkroom processing of images) and that restore the authentic nature of the photograph. Changes in density, contrast, color and saturation levels that substantially alter the original scene are not acceptable. Backgrounds should not be digitally blurred or eliminated by burning down or by aggressive toning.


When an employee has questions about the use of such methods or the AP’s

requirements and limitations on photo editing, he or she should contact a senior photo editor prior to the transmission of any image.



World press




Entrants to the World Press Photo contest must ensure their pictures provide an accurate and fair representation of the scene they witnessed so the audience is not misled.

This means that entrants:

  1. Should be aware of the influence their presence can exert on a scene they photograph, and should resist being misled by staged photo opportunities.
  2. Must not intentionally contribute to, or alter, the scene they picture by re-enacting or staging vents.
  3. Must maintain the integrity of the picture by ensuring there are no material changes to content.
  4. Must ensure captions are accurate.
  5. Must ensure the editing of a picture story provides an accurate and fair representation of its context.
  6. Must be open and transparent about the entire process through which their pictures are made, and be accountable to the World Press Photo Foundation for their practice.

This code of ethics provides guidelines on best practice.

The entry rules detail how the code of ethics is enforced: https://www.worldpressphoto.org/activities/photo-contest/entry-rules

Clause 2 in the code is supported by entry rule 11 and the guidance on what counts as manipulation.





dove fashion manipulation










The Global Advertising Lawyers Alliance (GALA) reported recently that France has enacted new legislation requiring that all altered or retouched commercial photographs of models, whose body appearance has been refined or thickened, be labelled as a retouched photograph. The legislation comes into effect on 1 October 2017, requiring the labels ‘photographie retouchée’ or ‘photo retouchée’. This follows French legislation that requires that all models provide a medical certificate confirming their general physical well-being and the fact they are not excessively underweight.