Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Edward Martins, a Portuguese photographer living in London has had his photo essay about the U.S. mortgage and real estate bubble removed from The New York Times online slide show due to digital cloning and manipulation in photographs that were promoted as manipulation-free. A blogger initially noticed that three of Martin's photos were indeed digitally enhanced and manipulated in Adobe Photoshop. Photo District News an industry tabloid paper picked up on the story.

Although the manipulations might appear as a minor indiscretion, when understanding the nature of cloning, unfortunately for the New York Times' special presentation of an historical event in this country, an artist making aesthetic corrections to enhance journalistic photographs poses a major breach of ethics. It's bad enough when ordinary readers often don't recognize a construction for what it is, especially when dealing with issues like women's representation and body image, where a great deal of human flaws are removed or repaired. That's advertising. But Martin was commissioned to take photographs that were meant to serve as a historical document of our economic times. Good thing someone was paying attention and deconstructing the images.

See the manipulated photos.

Read Simon Owen's interview with the blogger who exposed the manipulations.