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I just got a personal reply from the NYT editor, with explanation: [View All]

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Atman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-28-06 12:28 PM
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I just got a personal reply from the NYT editor, with explanation:
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Dear (Atman):

Thank you for taking the time to write us and ask about the photograph by Jim Wilson. I wish someone had done so before posting inaccurate information.

The simple answer is: We do not alter or doctor photos at The New York Times. But a more thorough answer from Jim is below. As soon as we alerted him to the accusations, he replied to our senior photo editor. His note reflects the dedication he has to his work and the commitment he has to upholding the standards of The Times.

Feel free to share this with anyone who has questions about the photograph.

With best regards,

Greg Brock
Senior Editor



From Jim Wilson, photographer for The New York Times.

I did no modify this picture in any way.

If you look carefully at the frame, you will see a slightly wide band of dark area that runs from the head of a marine with dark hair in the back row up to the singer. Look carefully at the wall from that marine's head up to the top of the frame and you will see the blurred cable that was in motion because the dancer was moving it as she spoke to the marines. The full cable is in the shot but is blurred. The reason it isn't sharp is because the frame was shot at 1/6 of a second in a room that was dark. The flash filled in the frame but wasn't the main light, the room light provided the main light for the frame. The long exposure balanced the light from the strobe on my camera with the ambient light in the room. The cable was moving as was the singer and the marines. If you look carefully at the frame, you'll see that nothing in the frame is tack/crisp sharp. I looked in the paper that I got out here and know that the reproduction left the wire virtually invisible.

The reason the cable on the platform is readable is because that length of cable wasn't moving. The dancer's body wasn't moving alot but her upper body was moving enough to blur the cable in the shot. Had the dancer not been moving ( or had I shot with a higher shutter speed which would have presented a whole other set of issues) the cable would have been sharp at that point. I chose to shoot this way because I didn't want the picture to have the look that a direct flash frame shot at high speed would have had (the dancer would have been lit and the rest of the frame would have been completely dark).

I wanted to picture to look like the performance actually appeared instead of like a moment frozen with just a enough light on the performer to illuminate her and not the rest of the frame. I wish I could have set the room with lots of lights to evenly illuminate it but I had only the strobe gear (one 580) that I carried in my bag. It wasn't nearly enough to properly light the room. There were no spot lights of any sort on the stage, just a few florescent lights in the ceiling of a room that was probably 30-40 feet tall and approximately the size of a gym.

I can understand how a reader might look at this and conclude what these readers concluded but absolutely no modification, manipulation or photoshop tricks took place on this or any other images I shot.


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