Byzantine Photographs

Thanks to a post on Indymedia I got to read the story posted on ‘Byzantine Blog‘, Deceiving the World with Pictures posted on Aug 12,  which cast some doubt on some pictures from  Georgia by Reuters photographers David Mdzinarishvili and Gleb Garanich, suggesting they were staged.

According to blog comments, Reuters has now re-captioned some of these pictures and allegedly removed others but you can view a set ‘Crisis in Georgia‘ which includes pictures by Mdzinarishvili and Garanich, including three from the two sets those the blog labels as fake, and you can find others from the scenes by a search on the Reuters site.

The evidence on ‘Byzantine Blog’ certainly raises doubts, and though at first I thought they had discovered something, having seen more of the pictures I’m fairly convinced the pictures are genuine.  Take a look and see what you think. It’s also worth looking at the comments and the pair of pictures it mentions on another site.  You can also see the story and read more comments (for, against and mainly pro and anti-soviet rants) on Russia Inside Out.

In real life things are as simple and straightforward as many of the comments suggest, and in the chaos following an air raid almost anything may happen.

Work on the Reuters site that shows Mdzinarishvili and Garanich as phtoographers doing a great job working under what must be difficult circumstances, I’d certainly be inclined to give both the benefit of the doubt – even if I had any.

Photos are of course staged all the time for various reasons, but it is important that those that have been staged are not represented as news. I’m sure Reuters would agree wholeheartedly, and when they were made aware of the actions of Adnan Hajj with Photoshop, he was quickly fired.

A lengthy post with the title ‘The Reuters Photo Scandal’ looks at these and other images from Lebanon on Zombietime, a San Francisco based site that perhaps requires reading with salt shaker to hand and that I would not recommend exploring too fully.  But some of the examples it gives are interesting and leave little doubt that photographers are sometimes manipulated by being offered good picture opportunities, and that in other cases they have set out to deliberately manufacture news.

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