Magnum photographer Jonas Bendiksen was troubled by potential for photographers to fabricate a story and photos from scratch using technology and social media to propagate a false narrative. He was so frightened that he “decided to try to do this myself.”
The Book of Veles was a conceptual exercise built from background plates photographed in Northern Macedonia and computer generated people. No one in the photojournalism industry seemed to notice, and Bendiksen was even offered an evening presentation at Visa Pour L’Image. But an eagle-eyed Benjamin Chesterton (@duckrabbitblog) spotted a social media avatar that matched one of the subjects in the book, and the intentionally deceptive tale unraveled.
In this episode of Vision Slightly Blurred, Sarah and Allen discuss the reaction to the project and the ethical lines that it crosses.
In addition: Paul Ratje’s misinterpreted images of Haitian migrants on the US/Mexico border, Instagram postponed the launch of Instagram Kids, and the New York Public Library keeps its image collection open for public browsing.
We mention the following photographers, articles, and websites in this episode:
- Photographer behind controversial photos speaks exclusively to KTSM
- Paul Ratje(@paulratje)
- The Book of Veles: How Jonas Bendiksen Hoodwinked the Photography Industry (via Magnum Photos)
- @duckrabbitblog tweets a reaction
- Lucas Jackson tweets
- Instagram boss Adam Mosseri on teenagers, Tik-Tok and paying creators (via Spotify)
- Instagram CEO hit with backlash after comparing the app to car safety (via InputMag)
- Instagram Pauses Instagram Kids to Address Concerns (via Time)
- You’ll Still Be Able to Browse the NYPL’s Picture Collection (via Curbed)