Friday, September 16, 2005

It's Not Manipulated, Except Where It Is

Come to find out that Reuter's did manipulate the Bush Bathroom Note photo, although they semi-try to deny it:
The photo, which quickly became fodder for blogs and e-mails among friends, was taken by Rick Wilking, a contract photographer based in Denver who recently covered the flooding in New Orleans.

Hershorn, Reuters' news editor for pictures for the Americas, says he's responsible for zooming in on the note and deciding to transmit the photo to Reuters clients. He says Wilking didn't know what the note said when he shot the picture....

But a few hours later, he started to wonder about a note that Bush was seen writing in three of the pictures. Out of curiosity, he zoomed in to see if he could read it.

Once he saw what it said, Hershorn decided the note was interesting and worth publishing. The white parts of the picture were overexposed, so a Reuters processor used Photoshop to burn down the note. This is a standard practice for news photos, Hershorn says, and the picture was not manipulated in any other way.
What's clear is that Hershorn got curious abut what the note said and so tried to find out. I'm guessing he hoped it would say something like, "Bolton will shake this crowd up." or "Kofi's ass is grass, Condi." When he learned it was embarrassing, he ran it.

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