On Saturday, August 5, 2006, a blog called “Little Green Footballs” posted a story entitled “Reuters Doctoring Photos from Beirut?” that revealed Reuters’ freelance photographer Adnan Hajj manipulated some photos he submitted from Iraq. Reuters eventually admitted Hajj’s wrongdoing and pulled all of his photos. But the blogging and television fallout continues.
When I reported the problem to my AP Images photo sales representative and requested that I receive the original image instead, he accused me of making the changes. When I directed him the photo’s URL on the AP’s website, he admitted no wrongdoing and said that he cannot confirm or deny that he sees any evidence that the image was (or was not) altered, saying he is not trained to recognize photo imperfections.
I even blew up the image and drew arrows to help his untraied eye recognize that the image was altered:
Altered AP Image (close up)
Altered AP Image (full)
Instead of taking the high road the way Reuters did by admitting the photo was altered and then promptly removing it, the AP Images denied any wrongdoing. My repeated emails and phone calls asking for them to replace the altered image they sold me with the original unaltered one went unanswered, saying that they have already credited my account and that the issue was resolved.
I eventually gave up. It wasn’t until a few months later that I noticed that AP Images removed the photo from their website and my Lightbox (a favorites tool on AP Images’ website) without ever apologizing or admitting they made a mistake.