Perverting authenticity ?

There’s a raging debate going on in photojournalist circles about authenticity which has taken some of the heat off the old argument that HDR is merely perverting authenticity. (what ??…. and there are still people debating the authenticity of digital versus analogue? Get out of here !) Purists are never much fun …and they are the only ones that think they are pure !!

So, what’s the fuss? Damon Winter,  a well respected photojournalist of the New York Times, recently won third place for feature picture story from Pictures of the Year International. (POYI) Photo journalists all over the globe have got their lenses out of joint.

Why? Winter’s images were all shot on an iPhone and …wait for it…. he used the Hipstamatic app to capture the day-to-day trials of the First Battalion, 87th Infantry of the 10th Mountain Division in northern Afghanistan.

Well, you know what ?….I have no issue with Winter’s preferred tool in capturing these images. Infact, I see no difference between using the  iPhone with Hipstamatic and a DSLR camera with the simple after effects applied by photojournalists to DSLR colour photography such as toning, contrast and conversion to black and white. And unless you’re shooting RAW, what is the difference between a DSLR camera processing JPEGS within and Hipsatmatic processing images within IPhone?

Most of the ethical considerations of photojournalism seem to be about ‘telling the truth.’ Yet most of their photos are submitted in black and white. Unless we are colour blind, do we really see the world in black and white and for that matter at f/1.2 ?  Converting digital color to black-and-white is no different to the film modeling that occurs in Hipstamatic.

Is the application of a border in Hipstamatic really unethical??  At least it guarantees that no cropping or straightening has been applied and we couldn’t have that, could we? Anyway, I always see my images with a 20 degree tilt of my head and I’m useless without my magnifying +3 glasses!

So, what is untruthful about Winter’s images?

Which brings me to the triptych up the top of this post? I shot these images using my iPhone and Hipstamatic app down at Jan Juc, a lovely little coastal town in Victoria. I rather like the sepia effect I applied out of camera. After all, I am not going to rely solely on Hipstamatic’s magic !

Anyway, here’s a little unadulterated triptych I prepared earlier in hipstamagic colour.

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