CNN to review all Princess of Wales’s images after ‘Photoshop’ row

The release of a family portrait by the Princess of Wales has caused a backlash after she admitted digitally altering the photograph
The release of a family portrait by the Princess of Wales has caused a backlash after she admitted digitally altering the photograph - Prince of Wales/Prince of Wales

CNN is reviewing all photographs handed out by Kensington Palace after the Princess of Wales admitted editing a family portrait.

The American broadcaster said the picture of the Princess and her three children had been distributed for editorial purposes and that media organisations “expect those images to be accurate”.

The photograph was recalled by four of the world’s biggest picture agencies over fears it had been “manipulated”.

The Princess then admitted editing the image after several inconsistencies were identified. She said that as an amateur photographer, she “occasionally experimented” and apologised for any confusion it had caused.

An analysis of the furore published online by CNN said that, like most news organisations, they “regard it as unacceptable to move, change or manipulate the pixels of an image” as it would alter the reality of the situation the image is intended to document.

“CNN is now reviewing all handout photos previously provided by Kensington Palace,” it added.

A decision about any action will be taken when the investigation has concluded.

‘Multiple images merged’

The digital fingerprint of the Princess’s photograph, released to mark Mother’s Day, suggests that she merged multiple images using Photoshop.

Analysis of data embedded in the image indicates that a copy and paste function was used.

Until this week, no such accusations have led professional photography agencies to raise questions about a Kensington Palace-issued image.

But the growing use of artificial intelligence has prompted agencies to update their policies so that manipulated images are not distributed.

The British Press Photographers’ Association (BPPA) applauded the “swift and decisive” actions of the agencies that “killed” the Princess’s picture on Sunday evening, warning that public trust was paramount.

Jamie Lorriman, chairman of the BPPA, acknowledged that while there might not have been anything sinister behind the Princess’s actions, the furore had highlighted a much broader issue.

“The edits she made may well be inconsequential but it has highlighted a bigger problem,” he said.

“These family moments used to be photographed by professional photographers and I hope we can get back to that.

“As press photographers, we have standards we have to adhere to. But as governments and royals increasingly insist on taking their own images, we are put in a position where we are simply handed a picture and told to trust the source.

“We should be independent rather than being spoon fed and when the subject is the one controlling the image this is even more concerning.”