photo manipulation

August 1989 TV Guide Cover

In today’s digitally connected world many people assume that photo manipulation is a byproduct of Adobe® Photoshop and they are surprised to learn that photo manipulation goes back as early as the 1860s. One of the earliest examples is Abraham Lincoln’s head being placed on the body of the Southern politician John Calhoun as shown on this Photo Tampering throughout History site by Hany Farid of Dartmouth. A more recent example is shown at left when Oprah’s head was spliced on to Ann-Margret’s body without permission from either of them. The photo manipulation was discovered by Ann-Margret’s fashion designer who recognized the dress.

Many feel that electronically altered images should be banned, or at the very least labeling should be required. The UK, France, and Switzerland are among those that support it.

Opponents claim that this would require banning, labeling, or warnings on a multitude of advertising materials. For example the roads used in car advertising are never as serene as they appear. If labeling is required for all digitally altered images, it would extend across a wide range of graphic imagery and require costly and time-consuming measures to enforce it.

The National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) publishes a “Code of Ethics” that calls for the highest standards in visual journalism to promote quality work and to strengthen public confidence in the profession. NPPA encourages visual journalists to uphold these standards in their daily work.

Read more posts on photo manipulation.