Saw two interesting things from Time Magazine’s website today:
Adam Ferguson, part of the VII Mentor program, returns to Afghanistan for the magazine and produces a quite nicely narrated slideshow about life for US troops in Wardak Province. Ferguson was recently featured on the Wired Magazine blog Raw File, where you can see his first Time cover. BAGnewsNotes wrote about his most recent cover, which comes from this same assignment, in the post Afghanistan Update: In a Bind. The pictures may be very one sided in perspective (but quite nice as photographs), echoing other pieces from embeds in remote outposts, but Ferguson’s audio backing helps elucidate his, and the subjects, questioning the idea of “why are we here?”
Secondly, while playing with Time’s new iPhone app, I stumbled upon an odd piece titled “France May Put Warning Labels on Airbrushed Photos” with this
“When writers take a news item or real event and considerably embellish it, they are required to alert readers by calling the work fiction, a novel or a story based on dramatized facts. Why should it be any different for photographs?” [Conservative parliamentarian Valérie Boyer] asks. “Rules on food-labeling let consumers know the origins of the contents and the presence of things like additives and preservatives. What’s wrong with … informing them when photographs have also been modified from their original form?”
This is an old argument, but apparently (I have no verification besides this article) it is gaining some traction in one of the most historic nations for photography, which has perhaps regressed (consider the purpose of Luc Delahaye’s “L’Autre” book) a bit from the heyday of H C-B, Ronis and Atget.
I think the sentiment is honest and surely most photographers who work in “straight” photography would love to have some bulkhead between outwardly manipulated images and what they try to do. But I don’t think it is possible, we’ve gone too far and the lines are too thin and/or blurred. And a $55,000 fine for failing to label a photograph as manipulated sounds very strange.