The Economist & Trick Photography 9

The June 19th issue of the Economist features a cover image of President Obama standing on beach in Louisiana, looking down in deep thought and seemingly pondering how the BP oil spill raveled out of control and the negative impact it could have on his upcoming re-election campaign.

However, that’s not what the picture is actually about. A New York Times article reports that the Economist modified the cover image which was shot by a Reuters photographer.

The unaltered image, shot on May 28 by a Reuters photographer, Larry Downing, shows Adm. Thad W. Allen of the Coast Guard and Charlotte Randolph, a local parish president, standing alongside the president. But in the image that appeared on The Economist’s cover, Admiral Allen and Ms. Randolph had been scrubbed out, replaced by the blue water of the Gulf of Mexico.

Reuters has strict guidelines when it comes to photographer, especially following their 2006 photo scandal when a photographer doctored a picture of an Israeli air raid on Beirut (pictures below).

In an email, Economist deputy editor Emma Duncan told the Times that Admiral Allen was removed by the crop, and that Charlotte Randolph was edited out of the picture because no one knew who she was. Duncan claims that goal was not to isolate President Obama, but to have readers focus on him while the article examines the oil spills damage to business in America, not the President.

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