Cate and the Kids. Photo (we think) by Princess Cate.

The world's press needs to get a grip. There was a huge furore in England when a photo posted by Princess Cate on her Instagram feed was published by the press and then removed very quickly when the photo's 'purity' was questioned. Sorry, but if as a member of the public, I'm supposed to give the press some respect and credibility when I read their news reports, how do I reconcile this childish, absurd reaction because of some minor editing?

Let's start at the beginning.

When digital photography arrived and the rest of the world finally understood that photographs could be manipulated, PJ and documentary photographers were sworn to never change a photograph, even by so much as a pixel. In this way, they hoped to reassure the public that their photos were true and honest. Of course, there isn't a line in the sand here, rather there's a huge demilitarized zone between what is a pure photograph and what has been tweaked in editing. But the rule is, any hanky panky with your files and you're dismissed and the photo is never published.

These rules have been around for more than 20 years and they haven't changed. We can remove a sensor dust spot, but we can't remove a distracting highlight from a leaf in the background. I get it. We need the public to be confident that what they are seeing is real. Let's remember this. The reasons for the 'rules' is to ensure that the photograph is real and authentic. My view is that editing the photo in itself should not be the only way we measure a photograph's verity.

So, what was the problem with Cate's portrait of her and the kids? It's a composite - and that's not allowed by the rules! Now, I don't know how she did it. Prince Bill might have taken the photo for her - or photos. I saw a television commercial for the Google phone promoting how easy it is to do head swaps and maybe that's what Cate has done. In any event, she admitted the photograph was hers and then had to apologise for her 'amateur' attempts at editing the photo.

No apology was necessary.

I'm not a royalist, but today I'm certainly bashing the press! Blind Freddy could see that the photos of Cate and the kids are them. The photos appeared on Cate's own Instagram feed (okay, so maybe there are a few dozen employees helping her here, I don't know). And anyone with the slightest knowledge of what photography could do and the errors that were apparent would dismiss them, in this situation, as unimportant. They did not affect the authenticity of the photograph and what Cate was communicating! Not one bit.

Now, I don't know about you, but I remember trying to take photographs of my family and to get all three of them smiling with good expressions was nigh on impossible. I think Cate is to be applauded for doing what professional photographers have been doing for 100 years - head swaps!

And the press? This wasn't a news photograph, it was a family portrait. Those same newspapers publish advertising photographs all the time that wouldn't pass their tests. And if they are such sticklers for the rules, did they ask permission from Cate to run the photo, or just appropriate it from her Instagram feed? Does copyright need to be considered, since we're looking at this issue in fine pixel detail?

Okay, so I have to be fair. What's the other side of this conversation? Why is the press so interested? Well, Cate has been in hospital recently and maybe she's not looking as healthy in reality as in the photograph presented. Maybe she's hiding her condition? Hiding a really BIG news story? Well, good on her!

And interestingly, Cate doesn't need the press to talk to her fans. In fact, she was bypassing the press and talking directly to her 2 million followers on Instagram. Maybe the press should spend a little more money on wages and hire a few good journalists who can track down some stories that matter? 

I've just had another thought! Maybe the press aren't upset by this at all? Maybe all these stories are coming from ChatGPT?

Well, I feel a lot better now having got this off my chest. Thanks for reading!