The importance of the Code Of Ethics and the dangers of Photo Manipulation in the NFT Photography space.

Hopefully what I am saying in this article will not offend anyone and will connect with the right minds because these are extremely important points for the entire photographic community and for NFTPhotography’s growth. It is not my intention to offend, undermine, or discredit anyone or their work.

Let’s get straight into it. Many NFT platforms are enlisting photographers who violate the Code of Ethics that has been in place for a very long time. If not addressed, this will create a long list of major issues in the near future. Also, most of the photographers who are embarked by these platforms (thanks to amazing images) do not have professional industry accreditations (World Press, POY, LensCulture, IPA, SONY, HIPA, PX3, TIFA, etc…) or have not participated in recognized exhibitions/galleries or had their work appear in publications (unfortunately, local or regional awards do not fulfill these criteria!).

So, why is this important? Why these photographers that have such stunning beautiful images (images, not photos… this is very important) do not win important awards, grants, exhibitions?

The answer is quite simple… when entering a professional award, if you are selected, you have to provide access to the original raw file as well! By doing this, you are showing that you did not violate any of the Codes of Ethics during the editing process. Professional (and fair) photographers are prohibited from manipulating the photo, deleting/adding elements, substituting the sky, changing the foreground/background, etc… They are allowed to do only a few things that will bring out the true potential of the shot or turn it into a good black and white photo.

But please, do not rely on what I’m saying. Go check the full list of these codes on the WorldPress website: https://www.worldpressphoto.org/contest/2022/code-of-ethics

Also, here is a VERY important page explaining what is considered manipulation and what is permitted as a professional photographer: https://www.worldpressphoto.org/contest/2022/verification-process/what-counts-as-manipulation

Here is a set of videos explaining what counts as manipulation?

Acceptable color changes: https://youtu.be/WtLLJ55qVIw
Unacceptable color changes:
https://youtu.be/eca2PTSwLFo
Removal of content:
https://youtu.be/Fk_fdm0wABQ
Adding content:
https://youtu.be/vjNTxYAT4mQ

I’m quite sure that many photographers will be disqualified from respectable award/exhibition/gallery if they don’t abide by these established and respected rules and the Code of Ethics. So many advertise how to manipulate a shot, which they call “the editing process”; this is not editing, but simply manipulating the original. Since the original photo doesn’t look that good they use photo manipulation to turn it into something else. This is bad practice and extremely counterproductive for the entire photography scene and NFTPhotography space.

Personally, I believe anyone should be able to enter the NFT space with any type of art they feel comfortable with… However, those who do not follow the above ethical guidelines should not identify themselves as Photographers (either Professional or Amateur). More appropriate terms like Digital Artists, Image Creators, Crypto Artist or MixMedia Artists are all good, but not Photographers!

I cannot emphasize enough how important this is to all professionals involved in photography.

A lot more needs to be discussed, but let it be by people with experience and a proven track record or we’ll be back at square one…. end of my rant 🙂