Photographer in digital imaging scandal

April 20, 2007

A photographer has resigned from his newspaper after it unknowingly published dozens of his images which it claimed were ?digitally manipulated?.

Amateur Photographer magazine (AP) was attempting to track down award-winning photographer Allan Detrich for comment after internal investigations by US-based newspaper the Toledo Blade concluded he had submitted 79 ?altered? images, many of which the paper unwittingly published online and in print since January.

?The changes Mr Detrich made included erasing people, tree limbs, utility poles, electrical wires, electrical outlets and other background elements from photographs,? claimed the newspaper?s vice president and executive editor Ron Royhab.

Detrich reportedly told the Ohio-based newspaper during an interview earlier this month: ?I?m not a cloner, that?s not something I would do.?

The matter apparently came to light when one of Detrich?s controversial pictures appeared on the newspaper?s front page on 31 March.

Photographers from another newspaper became suspicious after comparing their own shots and discovering that the legs of a person in the background – standing behind a banner – had apparently been removed from the Detrich image.

?The Blade?s picture was the only one with the mysterious blue jean-clad legs missing,? added the newspaper which says it has removed all the photographer?s photos from its website and blocked access to any of his images in its archive.

Detrich is reported to have admitted altering the front page shot using Photoshop software but said that he did so for ?personal use? and submitted the altered image to his editors ?by mistake?.

Apologising to its readers the newspaper added: ?Honesty is the fundamental value in journalism. When a Blade reporter or photographer covers a news event the newspaper and its readers expect an accurate record of the event.?

Detrich?s string of awards include, most recently, a photo of a killer tornado ripping through Tiffin, Ohio in 2002 which earned him a Photo of the Year honour from Time Magazine. He was shortlisted for a Pulitzer Prize in 1998.

To view the controversial images see here:

Compare the images

? Should photojournalists be allowed to alter images in this way? If you have a view why not share it with others by logging on to AP?s website forum via

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