BP and Photographic Truth

By: Brett

Errol Morris’s interview that we read in the beginning of the term about photographic truth was rather shocking to me. To recap, the article was about how one can alter an image to change the meaning or to spark a certain emotion within the viewer. His prime example was the photo of the 4 Iranian missiles being shot off when in reality there were only 3 being fired. He then talks about how changing the captions of an image can change the meaning which I find to be truth. Morris’s example of this is the aerial picture of a building with the caption “Chemical Munitions Bunker”. He then took that same photo but labeled the building “International House of Pancakes”. That just goes to show how a few words can impact how one feels about a picture. It got me thinking about the United States government and all the images they have been feeding the people to persuade us to support their causes such as war.  One article I found that relates to photographic truth is one where the oil company BP Photoshop’s one of its website pictures of its Houston Command Center. As you can see in the article, the real photo has 3 computer screens that aren’t in operation. The alter photo shows those screens being in use. The photographer cut and pasted part of the image, the question I have is why? The answer I’ve come up with is because BP wanted to look more concerned about the deeper water horizon accident by altering the photo to look as if they are using all their resources. (The computer screens)

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