April 01, 2003
What a Girl Wants: war
AOLTW photoshops Amanda Bynes' peace-sign off.
Posted by tmonkey at April 01, 2003 04:04 PM
war photographer photoshops war photo. gets fired.
That LATimes photoshop job was quite unsettling. (I wonder to what extent it is common practice.) It made the scene into a kind of allegorical painting. You must admit, the final product had more drama and narrative tension than the original two, and it might even have happened to some degree (soldier motioning to Iraqi with child "displaced by liberation" -- a curious term I heard used by an embed on MSNBC tonight), His camera just didn't go off at the right moment. Isn't this the visual equivalent of what journalists do in writing?
Between 1988 and 1992 I worked for one of the 'respectable' news shows on TV, let's just say PBS. I was a "paintbox artist," which meant I did the on-air broadcast graphics for national news. I worked on a half-million dollar hard-wired version of photoshop 2.0, a little before photoshop 1.0 existed. It had 80MB diskpacks that had to be kept cool and would lose data if you dropped them. It wasn't old school, it was pre-school. But we could really manipulate images back when everyone else had to use a darkroom.
It wasn't like anyone set out to deceive anyone per se, it's that we were, you know, designers, paid to tell stories visually. Sometimes what we got wasn't what we needed, so all I'll put out there on the web (especially with state.gov on the logs) is that we turned what we got into what we needed. This was especially important because the turnaround was so insane, sometimes 20 minutes was a long time. And yes, I did all this during the Gulf War. And that these felt like design issues, not political ones. I was young. So was digital image manipulation technology.
And there was a particularly interesting -- and in retrospect, disturbing -- time, right at the end of the gulf war, when it was unclear whether Saddam was alive or dead. Finally, an image came in over the AP of him broadcasting from his bunker. Again, I can't give away the punchline out in public, but the joke (now that we know he has all these doppelgangers) is that there was a design problem, and that it was that it didn't quite look like him, and that I fixed it. The design problem. I solved it.
seems like stalin had a way to fix design problems, too.