More Photo-Hijinks In Lebanon

Last week, when Reuters photographer Adnan Hajj got busted posting photoshopped pics as if they were real, I speculated that he was just, “the tip of the mountain.” Well, it looks like I was right.

Via Allah at Hot Air, a couple of posts at Lightstalkers, a website for photographers and media workers, have come to light. The posts in question are from Bryan Denton, a freelance photographer, in Lebanon right now, who has contributed to the New York Times among other places.

Here’s some of what Denton had to say about what’s going on in Lebanon:

i have been working in lebanon since all this started, and seeing the behavior of many of the lebanese wire service photographers has been a bit unsettling. while hajj has garnered a lot of attention for his doctoring of images digitally, whether guilty or not, i have been witness to the daily practice of directed shots, one case where a group of wire photogs were coreographing the unearthing of bodies, directing emergency workers here and there, asking them to position bodies just so, even remove bodies that have already been put in graves so that they can photograph them in peoples arms. these photographers have come away with powerful shots, that required no manipulation digitally, but instead, manipulation on a human level, and this itself is a bigger ethical problem.

whatever the case is—lack of training, a personal drive as a photographer to show what is happening to your country in as powerful a way as possible, or all out competitiveness, i think that the onus is on the wire services themselves, because they act as the employer/filter of their photogs work. standards should be in place or else the rest of us end up paying the price. and i’m not against the idea of local wire photographers, but after seeing it over and over for the past month, i think it is something that is worth addressing. while i walk away from a situation like that, one wire shooter sets up a situation, and the rest of them follow…….

Here’s more from Denton in the same thread:

“sorry to have not been specific. just to make this clear. i was not in qana and am not referring to the massacre that took place there. i have been covering beirut, and it was at numerous protest, evacuations as well as the israeli strikes in chiyeh, which unfortunately did not get that much coverage in the media—where i saw this behavior occur. i have also heard from friends of mine in lebanon, respected photographers, that this was not an isolated incident.

unfortunately in each of these cases, it was the lebanese wire photographers that started these situations. that said, i am not trying to make generalizations. i know that there are a number of dedicated and brilliant lebanese photographers here who are putting themselves in extremely dangerous situations in order to document what is happening here in their country, and in hindsight, i realize it was irresponsible for me to post the previous statement because it was not specific enough. however, this has been something i’ve noticed happening here, more than any other place i’ve worked previously.”

Note that he says the staging of photos in Lebanon is a, “daily practice.” Moreover, he says that, “i have also heard from friends of mine in lebanon, respected photographers, that this was not an isolated incident.”

If we have the press photoshopping and staging photos in Lebanon, what would make anyone think that reporting isn’t slanted, too? And if we’re getting a slanted, anti-Israeli view from the press in Lebanon, what makes anyone think we’re not getting a slanted, anti-American view in similar situations, like Iraq? In both cases, we have foreign stringers that may be sympathetic to the bad guys providing information to the MSM which is at least semi-hostile to the good guys and looking for ways to embarrass them. It wouldn’t be the least bit surprising if the sort of shenanigans that are going on in Lebanon have been going on in Iraq as well.

PS: I know you liberals may have trouble figuring out which side the “good guys” and “bad guys” are when you have Israel or the US facing off against terrorists. So, for all you lefties: the good guys are the US and Israel. The bad guys are the terrorists, militia members, and assorted scum fighting against them in the field.

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