Ethical photojournalism and Glyph

I used to joke that there is a “1 in 100 chance of a severe allergic reaction” to Glyph, referring to the rare response I’d get from someone that Glyph could be used to easily create misleading, exaggerated, or entirely falsified images from the news. For some reason, it’s always the image above (from this video) that provokes this occasional response. I usually point out the effects placed on this video clip via Glyph– extending the march smoothly and indefinitely with a progressive fade + masking out the extraneous motion in the windows above to give visual focus to the protest. Once at a talk, an audience member interrupted this explanation to tell me that this image “is a lie. It looks like this protest involved thousands of people, went on for hours into the night, was a national movement….”  Since his impression from that image describes the #Blacklivesmatter protests pretty well, I’m going to say that although this image is stylized, this manipulation is responsible in that it gives the impression of the intensity and ongoingness of these national demonstrations. Putting that aside, since he clearly didn’t intend his comments to be complimentary, I think I get the point he was going for: Glyph could be used to apply the same manipulations to inflect a clip with exaggerated or fabricated affective information. But so can many journalistic tools– like photoshop, or the typewriter. Still, there’s something here that might need further unpacking. Today, an article in the Times approached some of these issues around image manipulation software and photojournalism. It’s definitely worth a read if you’re interested in this topic. 

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