As a photographer caught in the middle of the ongoing Israeli-Lebanese conflict found out, trying to make Hell on Earth look even worse can cost you. A Reuters photographer was suspended after the news organization looked into bloggers accusations that a recent photo of attacks on Beirut was doctored. Their investigation found what they called ‘blatant evidence of manipulation.’ To make matters worse, this incident may not be the only one: the same photographer could face similar accusations for doctoring photos from the brutal attack on Qana last month.
All of this brings back memories of the famous Newsweek cover which darkened up an image of O.J. Simpson’s mugshot, in an apparent attempt to make him look more menacing. There is a rule of thumb that should ALWAYS be followed: image alteration should be done to provide clarity, not slant the truth. What is surprising in this case is that the only motive for the Lebanese photographer is personal feeling. Sadly, for those of us NOT in a warzone, it’s hard to comprehend how the realities of war are not shocking enough.