I received a press release yesterday from Aurora Photos announcing a new search feature that allows picture buyers to license images that have not been altered or manipulated in any way. Certainly there are many organizations that need this type of imagery and it’s gotten pretty easy to manipulate images on the desktop, but you can’t ignore the manipulation that takes place in the camera, so here’s what’s so cool about this new feature from Aurora. They’ve defined what they consider to be journalistic and what is not. This is a huge step in the right direction and something that’s been lacking from photography contests and editorial submission guidelines. If you want to claim that you publish journalistic images you have to define for your contributors and the public what you mean by this.
You can see the search function (here) and this is their definition:
What is JOURNALISTIC:
1. Candid photographs that truthfully represent what was taking place at the time the image was made.
2. Posed portraits of people in their environments, as is often done for magazine assignments. No digital manipulation has been made to the image, and the subject is not a model and has not been paid or rewarded materially for their participation in the making of the photograph.
3. Images with acceptable digital adjustments. This includes: small adjustments to brightness, contrast, and saturation that do not alter the reality of what the photographer saw when he/she made the photograph. Minor sharpening of an image is allowed.
4. Images with acceptable retouching. This includes: cleaning dust or scratches from film scans or dust from lenses or digital sensors. It is not acceptable to remove things such as moles, birthmarks, or blemishes from a subject’s face.
5. Creating panoramic or similar formats by stitching together at their edges two or more images in such a way that the resulting image truthfully represents the view at the moment the images were made.
6. Black and White images that are not tinted or toned in any way and adhere to all the other rules for a “journalistic” image.
What is NOT JOURNALISTIC:
1. Digitally adding or removing anything from the image that is not dust or scratches. This includes: Blemishes, pimples, dirt, power lines, lens flare, logos, trademarks, people, etc.
2. Combining two or more images to achieve a third new single image.
3. Manipulation of the image’s brightness, contrast, saturation or color that changes the reality of what would have been seen by the photographer or others present when the image was taken.
4. Images where the subjects are models or have been paid or rewarded materially for their participation in the making of the photograph.
5. Images that appear to be candid, but where the subject or any element in the image was conceived, posed or positioned by the photographer.
6. Images where the subjects are wearing clothing or using equipment or props provided by the photographer.