LIFE magazine has released previously unpublished photographs made on the day Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis. See "LIFE Exclusive! The Day MLK Died." The photo essay includes written commentary from photographer Henry Groskinsky about how he felt documenting the scene.
Groskinsky also talks about the experience of his shoot in a multimedia presentation at CNN.com.
I actually don't have a problem with most of what they did. Changing Obama's swim trunks from black to red seems odd and clumsy, and perhaps a tad over the ethical line. However, cutting him out of the background was a design decision, and adjusting the contrast and hue was a standard color and light correction.
Unfortunately, past abuses of digital imaging power have made many of us too sensitive about image correction. "Correction" is the key word; to a point, it is not manipulation, but rather a critical component of the image-making process.
I'm beginning to think that my favorite camera of the modern era is the Hubble Space Telescope. It's getting old, its technology is no longer state-of-the-art (see the GLAST), it's fallen into disrepair multiple times, and it was almost scrapped before its planned lifespan had elapsed.
Yet it still pushes its own envelope, still expands its own bubble, still produces amazing astrophotography of objects as far as 12 billion light years away.
I received this stock request from an agency today. Not sure if this was meant to be a joke on the agency or on the photographers, but it's pretty funny either way.
The request was for photos of "Various Geography/History/Wildlife." It asked for images of: "a polar bear chasing/eating a penguin in the wild; either ships or sailors of the Bhutan navy; a tiger in the wild in Africa; a boat or ship on the Sea of Tranquility; aerial view of the coastline of Bolivia; a view of Russia as seen from Alaska (ref: Sarah Palin); historical image of workers digging the Mariana Trench; the Great Wall of China as seen from the moon; [and] soldiers of the Costa Rican army."