Getty Photographer Dropped Over Altered Golf Photo

Photo-kill Getty Images has severed ties with a freelance photographer after an image he captured of a golf tournament was determined to have been altered with software.

The photographer, Marc Feldman, was cut by Getty after the manipulated image was discovered by a photo editor at the Dallas Morning News.

"Getty Images actively advocates and upholds strict guidelines pertaining to the capture and dissemination of its editorial content," Getty's public relations manager Jodi Einhorn wrote PDN in an email.

Golfer-before "As such, when Getty Images was made aware of (the) altered image in our coverage of this event, it was immediately removed…from our website and a mandatory 'kill' request was sent to our feed-based subscribers. In adherence with our zero tolerance policy on photo manipulation, we terminated our relationship with freelance photographer Marc Feldman."

The story broke when photo editor Guy Reynolds of the Dallas Morning News stumbled on the altered image while perusing photos of the Reno-Tahoe golf tournament. Reynolds found two Getty images of golfer Matt Bettencourt, one showing him with a caddy behind him, the other with just trees.

At first Reynolds thought the images were shot by two different photographers from slightly different angles but, as it turns out, both were credited to Marc Feldman, a Getty freelancer.

After inspecting the images more closely, Reynolds discovered they were the same shot but "one had been doctored with software to remove the other man."

Reynolds contacted Getty's picture desk in New York about the images and a "Mandatory Kill" advisory (to the right, above) was sent out shortly thereafter.

(Via Dallas Morning News' Photography Blog.)


16 Responses to “Getty Photographer Dropped Over Altered Golf Photo”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Wow…and it wasn’t even a very good photoshop job. The cloning is VERY apparent.

  2. Jay J. Hector Says:

    Apparently the altered photo is still fine for Getty Latin America . . .

  3. Chris Says:

    Just like the cloning of your comment…

  4. Lawrence Standifer Stevens Says:

    This is a bit over the top, in my estimation. With the caddy behind him, the shot is a cull as far as I’m concerned. Yes, the retouch is apparent even at the small size shown here but it’s a better shot and it doesn’t materially affect the “essential truth” of the image. Better to print a cull than to get rid of distracting elements. (Yeah, I know. The caddy probably wouldn’t take too kindly to being called and “element.”) My 2¢.

  5. Meg Says:

    Hmm. Guess it must be a slow news week in the photography world.

  6. andy Says:

    Slow news week??? Hey Meg, this is a professional photography blog. To diminish the gravity of this situation tells me you obviously do not make a living as a photographer.
    Getty did the right thing.

  7. Dave Says:

    I can’t believe that two of the commentators are willing to dismiss this as no big deal. It’s a lie plain and simple.
    Have we become so jaded and so used to being lied to that it’s no longer a big deal?
    My thanks to Guy Reynolds of the Dallas Morning News and Getty for doing the right thing.

  8. Matt Mills McKnight Says:

    A photographer working for Getty Images or any other wire service or news outlet is advised (and should already know) of ethics in photojournalism.
    It’s not like he removed some sensor dust here, folks. He cloned out an entire person, just because he thought it would look nicer and get better play from photo editors.
    The industry is better for photo editors out there like DMN’s Guy Reynolds who catch stuff like this and aren’t afraid to step up to the plate and keep our industry honest.
    That’s what our industry is about after all, right?

  9. Daniel Says:

    I don’t even make my living as a photographer — I’m a gay prostitute in Houston’s gritty sixth ward — and even I think this is the most egregious abuse of public trust that’s ever been perpetrated.

  10. Kevin E. Schmidt Says:

    Demonstrating how easy it was to manipulate an image to anyone opens the door to the possibility that it was not the first time it was done just the first time he was caught. I personally, am tired of journalist trying to excuse this type of behavior away as no big deal when one of their own are caught doing this. When it happens to someone in government / business or the general public who is being pursued in a story everyone lines up to take their turn with the hammer and nails. If the media does not demand higher standards for their own, they can not expect any from those they report on.
    If asked to see how images could be altered the response should have been, “No, I’m sorry but that would be the same as lying and I would loose my job.

  11. JMH Says:

    Of course when images are shot by an arab Reuters photographer like Adnan Hajj and the images are photoshopped to depict collateral damage, they run without anyone raising an eyebrow.
    They should be scrutinizing war images as closely as sports.

  12. Meg Says:

    Fascinating. I made no comment whatsoever about whether Getty images did or did not do the right thing.
    Please take care not to assume just because someone doesn’t make a living from photography that they must know nothing about photojournalism and secondly, have no right to an opinion that this piece is only barely newsworthy. Both assumptions are in error.
    Thank you and good day.

  13. mark waugh Says:

    If you take the time to read the links in his story you will read what the photographer said, and how he sent it by mistake. As he sent both the cloned and un-cloned its a safe bet he is telling the truth. Could Getty of just told him off? I’m not sure what I think about it, just feel for the photographer, and the stress this will have on his family life. As I read this story I did get a cold feeling about the picED, it was like he was enjoying the exposure, and the fact a persons career is damaged. I’m sure his 2bit blog got hit after hit….. how proud of himself he must be.

  14. Jennifer Hathorn Says:

    wonders why you think the clone is so apparent Jeff? If this wasn’t released as a before and after you would have no idea. and assume it was legit correct? Yes of course in consideration of Getty’s integrity. But the retouch is NOT THAT apparent, don’t lie.

  15. Christine Says:

    Well, first the cloning is very apparent because of the white spot being duplicated twice but an untrained eye will not find it (the average reader), so the question of the cloning being clever or not is not a major concern.
    What bothers me the most is the fact that if it’s barely newsworthy then it’s not important to be ethical or not because it’s not mass public material; it should be quite the opposite since it validates the right to lower the ethical standards.
    Everything is newsworthy, the information is just filtered via the media. They decide what’s more newsworthy for rating purposes. Like if someone hates golf, for sure it’s not newsworthy. That’s also why TV news all (no, almost all) says the same thing in a horrible way, they all basically covers the same stories to compete witch each others.
    It’s like problems in Ouganda, it’s considered not newsworthy because the public finds it boring so media do not cover what’s going on there but it’s important information.
    We are constantly manipulated for good or for bad and this since the beginning of mass communication. Nothing new about it.
    That being said, it does not help to alter an image, even if it does not change the core message. Once you do it, there’s is no limits, and that’s the major concern here.

  16. jon Says:

    why is it every post/discussion on the internet meanders away from the point and becomes a passive aggressive I-know-more-than-you bicker?