Photojournalism today: People are still enhancing their images

In “Citizen photojournalism and the public sphere”, Gregory Paschalidis focuses on the history of citizen photojournalism. Specifically, he points out the problems in the world of photojournalism. To expand on his argument, in “The paradox of authenticity in hyperreal photo reportage”, Eddy Borges-Ray focuses on Instagram and its effect on the world of photojournalism. Ultimately, these two readings are similar in how both bring into light the issues there are in the photojournalism world.

According to Paschalidis, “The crisis of photojournalism due to digital imaging has been making headlines for the past three decades” (Paschalidis 637). Manipulating photographs is an issue photojournalism has had since the beginning. For example, Paschalidis mentions how “Some commentators, recalling the variety of darkroom tricks and deceits common since the medium’s early days, conceded that photography was never free from alteration” (638). Today, photo editing has only been more prominent due to the development of smart phones, tablets, and laptops. On our laptops, we can use photoshop, while on our smart phones, there are numerous apps to download for free just to edit images such as changing our eye color, taking away some fat off our body to make us look skinnier, or using a filter to make the picture look more appealing than the original.

Similarly, Borges-Ray mentions how “…today’s photography is inevitable mediated by computer software-programming codes, data structures, and algorithmic automation-adding an additional layer of complexity to the whole argument of photographic authenticity” (Borges-Ray 575). With the development of smart phones, tablets and laptops, photo editing apps and sites are more readily accessible to the public and are used more than ever. For instance, Borges-Ray centers his attention on Instagram, the free, photo posting app widely used today, specifically by teenagers enhancing their pictures using the various filters and editing options. In a study he conducted, Borges-Ray focused on the elements that Baudrillard classified as hyperreality. In his study, Borges-Ray took a sample of professional as well as citizen photojournalists and calculated the number of times these journalists used photo enhancements such as vignettes, pixellation, Instagram filters, sharpness, or blurs in their pictures. According to Borges-Ray, these enhancements are considered an aesthetic, and “…its usage is widely accepted nowadays as an aesthetic photo-retouching imperative” (Borges-Ray 580).

In addition, Paschalidis mentions another issue photojournalists face. Now that the public has access to professional cameras and the internet, the role of photojournalists have seemed less important. Nowadays, there are numerous people capturing photographs that seem professional, yet are not by professional photographers themselves. With the free access to photo editing sites and apps, the public can easily perform the jobs of photojournalists. As Paschalidis mentioned, “…there are a few cases of non-professional photographers winning Pulitzer Prizes, but no non-professional journalist” (Paschalidis 645).

In summary, Paschalidis and Borges-Ray pointed out the most important issue that the world of photojournalism still faces today, and that is the manipulation of photos. Specifically, Instagram, has been the app that people have constantly used to make their photographs more appealing with their own enhancements. I found it interesting how the manipulation of photos have been a problem since the beginning, and has only been more of an issue with the development of Photoshop and other editing apps readily accessible to the people to use. Manipulation of images are without a doubt something I see on Instagram everyday. In fact, I myself have been a victim of this by editing my pictures by using filters or blurring some spots in the image. This was something I never thought of that I was doing until I read these two articles. It was fascinating to learn.

Bibliography

“News Images on Instagram.pdf.” Google Docs. N.p., 30 Apr. 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.

“Mini Cameras.pdf.” Google Docs. N.p., 12 May 2015. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.

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