In previous blog posts I've often discussed how far is ethical when manipulating images. It could be argued that the very nature of digital images means that every photograph is manipulated in some way, to obtain the ideal image. In a consumer driven society, it could be considered to be expected to tinker around with pixels. Most people would be savvy enough to know that the images they are exposed to are altered. Such photographs would still retain some contextual clues and narrative. However, I was made aware of a photograph that appeared in The Mirror recently, to illustrate the plight of starving children at food banks, would seem to have been from stock. It was a stock photograph of an American child taken 5 years ago! With such a reportedly desperate situation, surely the press could have found a child to photograph at a food bank?! The published image had no relevance to the time, place or subject of the story. It is worrying to think that an image can be taken out of context for it's meaning and purpose to be manipulated, to ultimately mislead readers.
As photographers we also have a duty to ensure that the photographs we let loose online are used appropriately, although this can be extremely difficult to achieve. This situation also raises the question of how the message a photograph has can be misconstrued, depending on the context that it is placed. In this case text was used to embellish the image and the image was used to validate the text. After learning that the image was unrelated, it is only reasonable to begin to question the accuracy of the report.