Wick Communications

To clone or not to clone

In Photography on July 15, 2011 at 9:17 am

Remember Dolly the sheep? The one that was cloned back in the 1990s, setting off a flurry of furious worry that the fate of the furry farm animal would soon be ours? (I promise not to ever write a sentence like that again.)

Today, cloning is a photographic term as well as a scientific consideration. Photoshop includes a range of “cloning” tools designed to help photographers add dazzle to or remove unwanted elements from their images. Essentially, these tools allow you to clone one area of the photo and drop it in another place. In that way you can make a grass field a uniform green, add missles to your armory (as the government of Iran did not so long ago) and generally mislead your viewer.

All of that is well and good if you are a home photographer or an artist. They aren’t sworn to present a realistic view of the world the way we are at newspapers. …

Last week, the Associated Press announced it was dropping a freelancer who Photoshopped his own shadow out of an image from the women’s World Cup. It may seem innocuous, but it cost him his job.

It’s best to leave those cloning tools alone. There may be an acceptable use for them in news photography, but I can’t think of one. Don’t inadvertently do something in the interest of improving on reality. Your credibility and perhaps your livelihood is at stake.

—  Clay

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