Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Have They Really Stooped This Low?

USA Today published this photo of Condoleezza Rice that was doctored in such a way to make her look sinister and evil. Of all the ways to take cheap shots at Republicans, this is one of the lowest forms.

UPDATE: The photo has been taken down, and the editor issued this statement.
The photo of Condoleezza Rice that originally accompanied this story was altered in a manner that did not meet USA TODAY's editorial standards. The photo has been replaced by a properly adjusted copy. Photos published online are routinely cropped for size and adjusted for brightness and sharpness to optimize their appearance. In this case, after sharpening the photo for clarity, the editor brightened a portion of Rice's face, giving her eyes an unnatural appearance. This resulted in a distortion of the original not in keeping with our editorial standards.
Despite this explanation, some photoshop pros are not buying USA Today's explanation. One of Michelle Malkin's readers provides this example:
I am a professional photographer and have used Photoshop on a daily basis for many years. This malicious retouch of Condi's image is not only intentional, but must have cleared the photo director as well. In other words as a collaborative effort or a wink and a nod.

I don't believe the eye treatment could be the result of over-sharpening alone, but probably involved some heavy handed levels or curve adjustment as well, and the eyes had been isolated from the rest of the image by selection or masking.
In any regard, this is not one of the paper's finer moments.