Aug 4, 2005

Katherine Harris doesn’t like Photoshop either

In several recent news reports, Congresswoman Katherine Harris from Florida is claiming that newspapers have been altering her photos to make her makeup look, well, unflattering.

She seems to think this is a deliberate attempt at poking fun at her.

Harris was the Florida Secretary of State whose visibility bloomed during the Florida vote recount in the 2000 national elections. She oversaw the disputed ballot count that gave George W. Bush a 537 vote victory in Florida. She was elected to Congress in 2002 and re-elected last year. Currently she’s running for the Senate.

From this CNN report, she is quoted as saying “I’m actually very sensitive about those things, and it’s personally painful,” she said. “But they’re outrageously false. … Whenever they made fun of my makeup, it was because the newspapers colorized my photograph.”

She has made similar allegations in newspaper articles since the recount and in January told The Associated Press, “The jokes about my appearance — it’s the computer-enhanced photos.”

Harris joins other celebrities such as Kate Winslet (see the PSN article Kate doesn’t like Photoshop – Digital Ethics) who seem to think that digital manipulation is either going too far or not being done well enough.

From the CNN article, Kenneth F. Irby, visual journalism group leader at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, said “the development of digital photography in recent years has made it easier to manipulate photos. As a result, he said, newspapers have tightened their ethics policies prohibiting such practices and have fired people for making even minor changes in news images.”

Personally, knowing the deadlines of newspapers (no time for lengthy retouching) and the fact that most of the printing industry is STILL struggling with color management, I suspect what Congresswoman Katherine Harris is actually seeing is the limitation of printing color on newsprint. Yes, sometimes the colors are off or garish, but that hardly constitutes a conspiracy to make her makeup look bad. Perhaps her handlers would be better off doing some color tests and designing a color palette that would reproduce better in print? That or hire her own Photoshop artist.

8 Responses to “Katherine Harris doesn’t like Photoshop either”

  1. Carl Scheffel Says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I also read a similar article in which they pointed out the same bad make-up in every video clip you ever saw her in.

    On a some what related note Ms Harris spoke of the blue around her eyes not being there. I have scene many digital point and shot captures in which a woman’s eye make up lights up like a bicycle reflector. I don’t ever remember seeing this with film why does can this happen and be … maybe more pronounced in digital capture over film?



  2. CypherXero Says:

    I was actually thinking the same thing, about how what she perceived to be a photo alteration of her makeup, could actually be a photograph that hasn’t been color correctly for the ink/paper of the newspaper.

    And on the topic of ethics for photography, I believe that the software on digital cameras should be ported into a special app for computers, that will only display (and checkmark) pictures that have come straight from the camera. For an example of this, take a picture with your digital camera, alter it in Photoshop slightly, save it back in the same format that it was taken from the camera (like JPG), and return that photograph back to your memory card. When trying to preview the photos on your camera, the altered photo will not show up in the camera’s internal photo browser.

    Or maybe some sort of MD5 checksum from the camera and the photograph, to maintain that it indeed came from the camera without alteration. Or, have a group of maintainers, that will oversee any and all digital editing (such as color-correcting, or small touch-ups), so that this group can make sure that the photos are pretty much true to their original intent. I would only want to see this happen in newspapers, magazines, etc…not the creative side (because we all need creativity).

    That’s my 2 cents.

  3. Jonathan Wills Says:

    Direct from the DNCC –

    “When asked Tuesday to point out a single instance of a newspaper running an altered photograph, Harris and her staff could not. Instead, Harris declared, ‘I haven’t worn blue eye shadow since the seventh grade when I was in Girl Scouts,’ but she couldn’t name a single media outlet that showed her wearing blue eye shadow.”

  4. Mike Ebbs Says:

    What a pity she has so little to do other than worry about her image (perceived or real). She really should get a life and she will find that she will be known for her deeds rather than her ‘photo’s. Perhaps that’s the problem – she already is!

  5. Ellis Vener Says:

    It would be funny if we weren’t actually paying her to “represent” us.

  6. Rob Sandusky Says:

    Did you catch the clip on the Daily Show the other night where she was being interviewed by FOX News (or was it CNN), in which she’s standing much like a Miss Universe candidate after announcing that she’s running for whatever office. She’s totally “thrusting” her … uh…. “running mates” in to the camera.

  7. Don Sotta Says:

    You ought to stick with photography and leave politics to other web sites.



  8. Jason Says:

    Don – you wouldnt be a florida republican would you? Photography and politics sometimes collide and it makes for interesting reading.

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