Justin Beiber and World Press

This has absolutely nothing to do about photography, well, I take that back, it does, and I’ll get there shortly.

Justin Beiber.  You know him?  Yeah, I know.  I can’t believe I’m writing about him either.  But bear with me…

I really don’t know a whole lot about him, other than he annoys the shit out of a lot of people and he has a dedicated legion of early teens following him.  I’ve listened to about ten seconds of a song in the past and I felt like my ear was being dragged across a giant cheese grater.

But then I found this:

Oh, come on, give it a shot.  It’s one of his songs slowed down 800%.  Yes, I know it sounds like Enya and I’m not about to put it on any playlist but, it sure as hell sounds better than the full speed version.  I won’t even put that on here as I don’t really want to subject people to the real song.

But what this post is about really is digital manipulation.  Here you have, well, a shit sandwich to begin with and it’s turned into a drunken midnight carnitas taco run.  So does it compare to the doctored World Press Photo below?

©Stepan Rudik. Slowed 800%, like Beiber's song.

© Stepan Rudik. Normal speed, like a cheese grater.

What disqualified the B/W photograph wasn’t the crop (which could be 800%-Gosh, Beaver, how ironic) or the super grainy B/W conversion, it was the shoe being taken out of the photograph between the hand’s thumb and forefinger.

Now, I agree with the World Press disqualifying the photograph.  Honestly, I have no idea why the photograph was even deemed a winner, but that’s why there is judging…and why I’m not a judge.

The rules are the rules and they were clearly broken with the removal of a foot.  And I’m not saying I have anything against digital manipulation.  It certainly has it’s place, especially in the art world.  I have nothing against B/W conversion.  It can be done in an analog darkroom with a color negative.  Fine.  But are we making an Antonioni movie here?  When it comes to journalism and reporting the facts, I feel that the above photograph should be disqualified for the sheer magnitude of the crop as well as the removal of the shoe.  I have no problem with a small crop to account for straightening the lines of a composition.  However, in this instance the crop is SO extreme that it DOES in my opinion create a new photograph entirely.  I know there is an argument out there that says the removal of the foot doesn’t alter the journalistic integrity of the photo, and to some degree I agree with that.  Yet, the crop creates a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT photograph.  So different it might as well be Justin Beiber turning into Enya.


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