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New York Times Apology

The New York Times Magazine has published photographs which they had announced in the article were made “without digital manipulation,” but now turn out to be otherwise. The Editors’ Note below is particularly interesting to me for two reasons: They do not publish the name of the photographer (wouldn’t they have published the name of a writer accused of manipulation?), and their explanation  “that most of the images did not wholly reflect the reality they purported to show” is extraordinary. Which photographs by any photographer do “wholly reflect the reality”?

“Editors’ Note: July 8, 2009

“A picture essay in The Times Magazine on Sunday and an expanded slide show on NYTimes.com entitled ‘Ruins of the Second Gilded Age’ showed large housing construction projects across the United States that came to a halt, often half-finished, when the housing market collapsed. The introduction said that the photographer, a freelancer based in Bedford, England, ‘creates his images with long exposures but without digital manipulation.’

“A reader, however, discovered on close examination that one of the pictures was digitally altered, apparently for aesthetic reasons. Editors later confronted the photographer and determined that most of the images did not wholly reflect the reality they purported to show. Had the editors known that the photographs had been digitally manipulated, they would not have published the picture essay, which has been removed from NYTimes.com.”

The Editor’s Note can be found here. See further discussions on metafilter and pdn. And thanks to Elizabeth Kilroy for pointing this out.

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