Update: World Press Photo Claims Winning Image Wasn’t Doctored

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Did World Press Photo give its photo of the year award to a doctored photo? WPP and the photographer, Paul Hansen, both insist no.

After Neil Krawetz claimed that Hansen’s image of Gaza mourners was a composite of several images, World Press Photo announced that it sent the image to two independent experts for analysis. The experts disagreed with Krawetz’s assessment of the image:

We have reviewed the RAW image, as supplied by World Press Photo, and the resulting published JPEG image. It is clear that the published photo was retouched with respect to both global and local color and tone. Beyond this, however, we find no evidence of significant photo manipulation or compositing. Furthermore, the analysis purporting photo manipulation is deeply flawed . . .

 Gaza mourners

Hansen also stood by his photo. He then explained to Anthony Sharwood how he processed the image. “Developing a file over itself” sounds a little dodgy, but I don’t understand any of this technical jargon:

“In the post-process toning and balancing of the uneven light in the alleyway, I developed the raw file with different density to use the natural light instead of dodging and burning. In effect to recreate what the eye sees and get a larger dynamic range.

“To put it simply, it’s the same file – developed over itself – the same thing you did with negatives when you scanned them.”

For its part, Krawetz’s original post Extremetech has been updated several times responding to WPP’s experts.

Certain digital enhancements with light, color, and contrast are considered acceptable within the media industry.But at what point do the enhancements make the image dishonest?


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