According to a Word Press survey of news photographers, over half of the participants claimed to have staged their photos.
Staged photography has been around for almost as long as photography itself, and yet the debate still continues in regards to the ethics of it. While it is fairly accepted that photography for artistic or commercial reasons are allowed to be staged, the issue of staged news photography is still hot.
People against staged news photography have argued that it defies photojournalism and is in essence "the visual equivalent of fabricating quotes in a written story." Staged photography in the news can skew the public's perceptions of an event in such a way that they may either underestimate the gravity of an event or over estimate it. Each scenario ultimately defies the purpose of delivering news, because the news is supposed to be a truthful representation of events.
On the flip side however, sometimes there can be a necessity for staging photographs. As discussed in class, during the Civil War, war photographs may have been staged with the purpose of illustrating the horrors of war. Back during that time period it was almost impossible to take photographs in the moment due to dated technology, so photographers had to rely on staging in order to show the North what it looked like, and what it felt like to be within the war.
It seems that news photographers nowadays not only try and capture the truth of the moment along with the emotion of it, which could explain the staging of photographs. After all, it can be pretty difficult to capture the emotions associated with an event once the event has passed. In my opinion, staged photography falls into two classes: one with the intent of altering the audience's mindset of an event and the other with the intent of capturing the emotion associated with the event. The former class would be the malicious type of photography while the latter, although not always justifiable, could be considered the lesser of two evils.
Staged photography is a real thing in our world today and with that, it becomes important for society to ask oneself questions regarding the authenticity and purpose of the photography at hand. Staging photographs is not purely bad or good but rather a mix of the two, after all, in the world of photojournalism, its not all black and white.