Selecteer een pagina
Brian Walski

Brian Walski

Al weer 4,5 jaar geleden dat Brian Walski werd ontslagen bij de The Los Angeles Times. Wat Brian deed vond ik persoonlijk helemaal prima. Rommelen met foto’s daar lus ik ook wel pap van. Hoe anderen daarover denken vind ik soms ronduit hypocriet. Bij de bomaanslag in Madrid waren er velen kranten redacteuren die opdracht gaven een om een losliggende arm weg te retoucheren. Al die redakteuren zijn NIET ontslagen. Zo zie je maar weer.

Ik kwam er vandaag achter dat het geval Brian Walski nog erger was dan ik dacht. Toen de mannen van de krant hem smeekten: “Verzin een excuse, vertel ons dat er iets is misgegaan met de satelliet verbinding, please”. Antwoorde Brian; “ Niks misgegaan, ik heb die foto gewoon bewerkt. stom of niet, en ik bied hierbij mijn ontslag aan”. “Nee!”, was het antwoord; “Je wordt ontslagen”.
Moraal van het verhaal; Als fotograaf ben je gewoon bezit van de krant. Je hebt zelfs niet het recht om je eigen ontslag aan te bieden.
Nee, dat wordt bepaald door mensen die beter kunnen manipuleren dan welke fotograaf dan ook.

Ik kwam er vandaag achter dat het geval Brian Walski nog erger was dan ik dacht. Toen de mannen van de krant hem smeekten: “Verzin een excuse, vertel ons dat er iets is misgegaan met de satelliet verbinding, please”. Antwoorde Brian; “ Niks misgegaan, ik heb die foto gewoon bewerkt. stom of niet, en ik bied hierbij mijn ontslag aan”. “Nee!”, was het antwoord; “Je wordt ontslagen”.
Moraal van het verhaal; Als fotograaf ben je gewoon bezit van de krant. Je hebt zelfs niet het recht om je eigen ontslag aan te bieden.
Nee, dat wordt bepaald door mensen die beter kunnen manipuleren dan welke fotograaf dan ook.

::  ::  ::

Lees hieronder het betreffende interview

source: http://www.pdnonline.com

Brian Walski Discusses His Doctored Photo

May 07, 2003

By David Walker

The Los Angeles Times fired Brian Walski April 1 after the staff photographer admitted to digitally combining elements taken from two different exposures. At the time of the offense, the award-winning photojournalist had been covering the war in Iraq from the town of Basra. The composite image ran on the front page of the Times as well as its sister paper The Hartford Courant, among others.

Walski spoke at length to PDN senior editor David Walker about what he did, how he feels about his actions, and what his plans are now.

Walski: I guess you’re calling to ask why I destroyed my career.

PDN: Did you destroy your career?

Walski: Right now, it’s not looking good.

PDN: What are you going to do?

Walski: Maybe try to start my own business with a couple of friends here in LA who have their own gallery. I’ve been in newspapers 24 years, since 1979. Started my career in Albuquerque.

I’m not blaming anybody but myself. A lot of people said, ‘well, you were under stress.’ When I put the pictures together, I knew what I was doing. It looked good. It looked better than what I had, and I said ‘wow.’ Things happened so fast. Great photographers who can compose pictures under that kind of intensity–I’m amazed by how they can do it. Things are happening so fast. You have to watch out for yourself, and look what’s going on to be able to compose pictures. I had ten frames of soldier totally cut off. At some point I must have zoomed out. When that guy came up with the baby, I shot off ten more frames. I had just one where you could see the soldier’s face. The others he was turned away. I put four pictures on my laptop. I was going back and forth. There was no reason to do [what I did]. I was playing around a little bit. I said, ‘that looks good.’ I worked it and sent it.

PDN: Was it crossing your mind that you could get in trouble?

Walski: Not really. I wasn’t debating the ethics of it when I was doing it. I was looking for a better image. It was a 14 hour day and I was tired. It was probably ten at night. I was looking to make a picture. Why I chose this course is something I’ll go over and over in my head for a long time. I certainly wasn’t thinking of the ramifications.

It’s not just me. It’s what I’ve done to my co-workers, to the Times, to other photographers that were there. I feel really bad.

PDN: What did your co-workers say?

Walski: Most have been very nice and supportive and kind. I haven’t heard from everybody. A lot of them are just shocked. They’re surprised. The Times is such a high quality operation. Nobody would think of doing this. I wake up in the morning and can’t believe that I did it, that it’s happening to me. But I did, and I can’t blame anybody but myself. We were in Iraq at that point for six days. We were sleeping in our car. It was the most intense kind of–we didn’t have any place to stay. There was no safe haven of any kind where you could kind of relax and get a good night’s sleep. It was constant tension. Maybe that led to it, but I can’t say that it did.

PDN: When you were looking at the pictures, were you justifying it in some way?

Walski: When I saw it, I probably just said, no one is going to know. I don’t know. I’ve tweaked pictures before–taken out a phone pole. It’s not a common practice, but you can do it. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I imagine they’ve done it here and there. This was going overboard–taking pictures and putting them together. I think it’s just that I wanted a better image. Then when I did it, I didn’t even think about it.

PDN: Did you notice that the people in the combined picture repeated?

Walski: I guess not. I put them together and thought, ‘Looks good,’ and that was it. I heard that it was discovered by an Iraqi who was studying the faces for his relatives, and he noticed. None of the editors at the Times noticed it either.

PDN: You’re not making any excuses about this.

Walski: I can’t. I accepted full responsibility as soon as they called me on it. I’ve had friends say, ‘oh, you wanted to get [fired].’ I can’t go there. It’s not that complicated. I did it, and I have to move on from there. I can only analyze it so much. It was bad. It was being deceptive. I was doing something that was clearly wrong. I was unethical. At the time did I really think of all this? No. I can’t really go back to that day. Would I have done it again? I don’t know. Maybe I would have. My head’s still kind of spinning at this point. My whole career–if it’s not over, it’s certainly going to change dramatically. If I start doing commercial work, I’m going to have to start out at the bottom, basically. It’s difficult right now. There was that incident with the New York Times photographer. I know he denied it, fought it, and it got ugly. There was no point. I wasn’t about to do that. And I couldn’t. When they called me that night, Colin [Crawford, the Times director of photo] said, ‘Give me an excuse. Tell me it was a satellite transmission problem. Say something.’ I said, ‘No, I did it. I combined the two pictures.

PDN: He was looking for a way to save your ass?

Walski: I guess. He was saying, ‘help me on this.’ I went through my whole career being above board. I worked for the [Boston] Herald under [Rupert] Murdoch. They cut and pasted pictures.

PDN: They did?

Walski: Back in the old days, yeah, when it was owned by Murdoch. The art department would do it. It was old school stuff. The photo department was always dead set against it–the photo department would revolt against that kind of stuff. It’s something I would never think of doing, and here I am.

PDN: It must be hard to come to grips with what you’ve done.

Walski: It is, but it goes beyond that. It’s who I am. I’ve been a professional photographer my whole professional life. The craft I value the most–I doubt if I can get back into it. I feel like I’ve disgraced it. I’ve tarnished it. What I did tarnished every photographer to a degree, and I feel really bad about that. And the humiliation of being fired…

PDN: Colin fired you over the phone?

Walski: He didn’t. I admitted it to him. He said, ‘send me the images.’ I did. Then I called back and said, ‘I’ll resign.’ He said, ‘No, they are going to fire you.’ I think it was out of Colin’s hands at this point.

PDN: Have you put out any feelers to see if you can salvage your career as a photojournalist?

Walski: It’s only been a month. I’m trying to get organized. I have no camera equipment. The Times provided everything. It was like a candy store. They provided everything you can imagine. If I’m going to start my own business, I have to make an investment [in gear]…I’m not sure this is what I want to do. It’s a pivotal point in my life.

Maybe I’ll be happy where I end up in a couple of years, but I’ll never look back on it and say it was a good thing. I hurt my reputation and the LA Times’ reputation, and that’s something I feel really bad about. And the Internet thing, that’s hard to deal with. I did a Google search on my name, and it comes up in about 25 languages. Every photographer wants to be known for a picture he’s taken. I’ll be known for this. It’s not something I’m proud of. The photographers who are covering Iraq–I’ve hurt them in a way. If I could apologize…People should be proud of the work they’ve done over there. I take responsibility for what I did.

::

::++

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Schrijf je in voor

Mijn Nieuwsbrief

En blijf op de hoogte van mijn nieuwe artikelen. Die uitsluitend zullen gaan over mijn zoektocht en ideëen betreffende [fotografie]

You have Successfully Subscribed!