DURHAM, NC (January 5, 2013) - The National Press Photographers Association has joined with the White House News Photographers Association (WHNPA) in a statement protesting the manipulation of an official photograph made available for distribution by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office.
The issue of the use of government hand out photographs is something that press groups have been concerned with for sometime. The acknowledgment by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office that four Members of the House who arrived too late to be photographed in a group shot were “later photo-shopped in” stands as Exhibit A in the dangers of using these photographs, NPPA said in their protest. These dangers are further exacerbated at a time when news organizations are cutting staff and relying more on unvetted user generated content while the government and other organizations are seeking to exercise more control over access and their images.
A further review of the photograph shows that not only were the four missing Congresswomen added but that the image was also manipulated to show other Congresswomen who were blocked in the original photograph, as well as redoing the hair of another. Rather than being a true and “accurate historical record” as the House Minority Leader stated in her defense of the use of the photograph, the hand-out represents an example of the dangers in using a manipulated official photograph, thus undermining the public’s trust in visual images.
Read the protest by NPPA and WHNPA in full online here, in the NPPA Advocacy Committee blog.