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New MI Policy Addresses Digital Scans

submission-featureI recently received a submission of a scanned historic photograph. I learned that various nicks, chips and other blemishes had been carefully removed in Photoshop. The result was a nearly pristine restored image. During an email exchange about the Photoshop work, the contributor provided the original, unmodified scan. I compared the two, and determined that Military Images should have a formal policy that addresses Photoshop use.

Since the advent of the digital era, photojournalists and other professional documentary photographers have crafted policies to preserve the authenticity of images. Curators and other museum professionals, notably at the Library of Congress, have established technical guidelines and best practices to insure the accuracy of historic photographs.

After careful consideration and after consultation with contributing editors and others connected to Military Images, I am pleased to announce the following statement summarizing MI’s position on the subject:

Military Images does not accept scans of photographs that have been digitally enhanced, and does not condone the practice of digital enhancement of historic images. Scratches, chips, nicks, cracks and other blemishes, while they may interfere with the content of an image, are also part of its history and should be preserved. Military Images will accept digitally corrected scans that have been adjusted for brightness, contrast and color.

This policy is consistent with MI’s mission to showcase, interpret and preserve historic military photographs. It seeks to provide the MI audience with the most historically accurate and reliable images consistent with current standards and best practices.

The “Submission Guidelines and Deadlines” section of our site has been updated to include this statement.