I have been trying to come up with a response to this Edgar Martins situation as it has been handled by Jörg Colberg, on his blog Conscientious. For a couple of days I have been frustrated by the lack of a willingness to take Martins to task for some of his statements in his one-sided response to why he digitally manipulated a recent commission from the New York Times Magazine, that was subsequently pulled.
I can’t really remember what my reaction was to this manipulation. I do know in the past couple of days I have been extremely frustrated with both Mr. Martins and Mr. Colberg. The first for his overwrought masking of the truth. To sum up, he lied to the New York Times about his manipulation policy.
What really got my hackles up was rather sophomoric post by Mr. Colberg today about what a photograph is as it compares to a photo-illustration. This post showed me that he is swimming in unfamiliar waters. He could have easily referenced the Reuters handbook on what is accepted digital processing. It is very clear, probably too clear for Mr. Colberg.
The lack of an ability to comment on this post directly, save for emailing him, also gets to me. How is this really a discussion in this day and age in the blogosphere? I am not always a fan of comments, but in this case, I wish they were there.
I wonder if, from Mr. Martins’ perspective, this is now a closed case. I wonder if someone from PDN had tried to contact him for a response if he would be willing too? The cynic in me says no because Mr. Colberg offered him an unquestioned platform for his views. Did this action by Mr. Colberg add to the supposed dialog he wants to create or hinder others from grilling him directly?
Well, I don’t know, but I would like to move the dialog along, so I am offering this space here as the an open forum for these topics. Feel free to comment. I welcome it. If you would like to directly respond to any of the above posts feel free to use this comment section. My response is a measured one, I am opening this blog for comments for responses from another blog.
A note of full disclosure: I do not know Mr. Martins or Mr. Colberg. I participated in a workshop in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1994 where Kathy Ryan, the picture editor of the New York Times Magazine was my team leader. Her words of advice and encouragement helped shape my view on photography. I have not had any contact with her since then. I worked for the New York Times once as a freelancer in 1993. For me this is not about the Times it is about journalistic photography. In my 11 years of newspaper photography there was always a very clear line of what was and was not acceptable in terms of digital manipulation. That line became blurry when I came to graduate school for my MFA in photography. Blurry in the sense that, the more mysterious I am about my process the better. I do not like working like this. I do not like deceiving the viewers of my photographs. That is the part of fine-art photography that still rubs me the wrong way.