Editorial - October-November 2007 - part 1 of 1

by Mike McNamee Published 01/10/2007

The Truth is Out There (or is it?)

It all started with a package from David Anthony Williams. He was agonising over the rules for the 20x16 competition to be run at the Convention, specifically about the need for 'truth' (or lack of it) in the landscape competition(s). It is a topic he has researched at some length and he kindly provided a number of papers for us to chew the fat over. The views expressed cover almost every possible aspect of manipulation, fiddling and downright skulduggery with images. There are two extremes, neither of which offers a satisfactory position even then

  1. You may do nothing to a picture once you have pressed the shutter.
  2. You can do what you like.

Even number one is flawed. The choice of lens, camera position and exposure setting are manipulative choices - eg leaving out a person from the end of a group may be a statement; reducing the exposure to such an extent that people (or objects) in the shadows are lost into blackness at least compromises the truth that xyz was present at the time. Everything then, from the moment you decide to make an image, is manipulation, with an expanse of grey area all the way up to the fulfilment of point two. Point two can even include making images from things that you did not create or own copyright to. Both the Eiffel Tower and London Underground have made attempts to restrict the use of their iconic structure and logo respectively. The ultimate cheat is to simply use somebody else's picture (even that has been done but not as far as we know in an SWPP/BPPA competition).

I suppose the fault with all this lies in the word 'competition'. As soon as something is competitive the vanquished will seek ways to alleviate the pain of defeat - the rules make an easy target! Watch this space.

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1st Published 01/10/2007
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