Intro to Kelly’s Korner: Kelly Du, a Junior at BHS, is currently taking an online class in Social Media and as one of her projects she will be writting once a week on our school’s online newspaper about the effects of modern media. Here is her first topic, Photojournalism:
by Kelly Du
The first topic that I’d like to introduce this week involves the use of photo-ops and altered images in the media. When you hear the word photo-ops, the first thing that comes to mind might be celebrities in magazines, but really, they can be found in well established newspapers and news broadcasts. The media is a large and profitable business that depends itself on selling stories and gaining attention. So, using sensational photos is important when trying to attract viewers. Who doesn’t love seeing a dramatic photo that captures a significant message? As the famous saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”
A problem that is very common today is the fact that many images are being altered to sell a story. Technology is improving and growing every second and altering; manipulating photos is becoming easier to do with the use of computers. At this point, almost anyone with a software program and a few basic skills can alter a photo.
It’s almost impossible to detect whether or not an image has been changed. A photographer can improve a photo by changing the color and contrast of it. They can also take a person or object out of a photo or add something else instead. There are a great number of possibilities.
But even before a photo hits the computer, it’s already being manipulated when the photographer takes it. The camera angle, framing, and the right moment that the photographer chooses to take the picture are all factors in a photo’s manipulation. All those little decisions may be unconscious at the time, but the photo that comes out ends up being a contextualized representation of a photographer’s reality. Photos in general are highly interpretive depending on your culture, upbringing, experiences, and beliefs. That’s something to take into account when viewing them in newspapers, magazines, and on television.
Remember, what you see in photos isn’t always exactly how something appears. Computers or the photographer’s techniques may all be factors in sending out a dramatic photo to the public. Many images nowadays are staged, sensational, or doctored. The important thing is to be aware of all those things and to not believe everything you see. The idea that “the camera never lies” is false when you take into account all the work that was done behind the scenes. Be aware, wise, and critical of all the images that are out there.
Share, Jeff. “Camera Always Lies, The.” Center for Media Literacy. Center for Media Literacy. Web. 27 Mar. 2012. <http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/camera-always-lies>.