PDN Pulse published a report that the New York Times Magazine Withdraws Altered Photo Essay after finding several indications that the photographs had been digitally altered. MetaFilter also published an animated graphic showing how one photo was too perfectly symmetrical.
The NYTimes has even published an article describing the manipulation and clarifying why the essay was withdrawn (correcting the introduction to the photo essay which asserted that the photographer “creates his images with long exposures but without digital manipulation.”
A very sad day indeed, but kudos to the NYT for sticking to their “longstanding policy” (see Assistant Managing Editor Michele McNally’s Q&A regarding edited photographs and the NYT).
[Update 8/4]: See Behind the Scenes: Edgar Martins Speaks on the NYT Lens blog for his response. Here are some of his comments posted in that blog:
“Where does one draw a line when seeking to represent but also shape reality? And how does the viewer relate to this? The only constructions which were conceived in the context of this project were made at a representational level only. It is not reality which I have sought to ‘manipulate,’ but its image. This work explores the concept of ‘home’ as an idea and a form, and summons a disquieting conjunction of reality, hyper-reality, fantasy and fiction.”
With all due respect to Umberto Eco, Mr. Martins clearly has his role confused. He isn’t a fictional artist, but was paid to represent reality, something which he clearly did not intend to do. If only he had made the NYT aware of this before he posted his photo essay.