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I wish I could post this on a contributors only forum - but I can't.

 

http://www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk/forums/fungi-forums/110466-has-telegraph-got-wrong.html

 

 

 Sorry to report that both the offending pictures were obtained from Alamy, both wrongly captioned.

 

 Fortunately the article is not headed "Ten edible mushrooms to watch out for!!!

 

 

Please. This is not a subject to play at "guess the species" nor to flick through internet pictures and try to spot a look-alike. Not knowing can be dangerous.

 

 

On a happier note - the correct ones seem to be from Alamy as well, so if you have pictures of poisonous fungi it's worth having a check.

 

Christine

 

 

 

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Isnt it the responsibility of the researcher/journalist/blogger to make sure he has the correct name with the correct image? If you are going to write up a piece shouldnt you know something about the subject? If you are going to write a piece and trust on someone else's work to be correct, you are going to set yourself up for trouble. 

 

It happens with holiday destinations as well, where the travel image has the wrong keywords on where it is. 

 

I am not saying people shouldnt have correct keywords or descriptions, but if you are going to write a piece about something you better make sure the images to illustrate the article are exactly what they should be.

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I also see a lot of this with travel photos - in many cases the descriptive text (all of it) is just complete nonsense.  You get destination X presented as destination Y, Museum of A becomes Museum of B - all with great authority; there are also many more subtle problems - St Peters in the Vatican described as a Cathedral, for example, when it's a Basilica - that difference is significant to many who search for images in this area.

 

One solution might be greater diligence on the part of the researcher, but you'd think that photographers would take a little more pride in their work too.  I think that sometimes it starts as an innocent/ignorant mistake that gets propagated at internet speed - but that doesn't excuse it.

 

Regards

Lionel

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Mushroom and fungi accurate identification is a particular minefield. I remember very early in my snapping career taking a nice clear photo of a pretty toadstool to my neighbour professor of biology for a name. Toooooo tricky! Searching on the internet will probably resemble the blind leading the blind. Best leave it alone. Any journalist worth the name should know this! But in this day of "employing" interns for checking details, what hope?

 

Many travel location errors are caused by the smash and grab visiting photographers. You know the scenario: Pretty village, sun's out (maybe?) grab the camera, rattle off a dozen frames, back in the car. Right, where next? Work to do, half a dozen locations a day. Back at base, give Wikipedia a glance, write a brief text, paste it into the whole set, UPLOAD!

 

Alamy don't edit captions as far as I know (think of the numbers) but I have seen my carefully crafted captions on other sites altered by someone who thought they knew better. Oh, and I have made a few mistakes which I try to correct when I catch them later.

 

Photographers could do a whole lot better. Journalists and the spectrum of picture buyers should double/triple check details. But TIME IS MONEY, print it and move on, that's the world we live in. Usually.....

 

Unfortunately, inaccurate information has been with us a long time, but that's no excuse for not improving.

 

Robert-trust-my-captions-Estall

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Isnt it the responsibility of the researcher/journalist/blogger to make sure he has the correct name with the correct image? If you are going to write up a piece shouldnt you know something about the subject? If you are going to write a piece and trust on someone else's work to be correct, you are going to set yourself up for trouble. 

I think a large part of the problem comes when a journalist or writer hands in their text and the task of illustrating the work is left to a picture researcher who must locate attractive images and simply takes any captions or keywords at their face value. A picture researcher is unlikely to be an expert on fungi, or on church architecture, for example - they are just interested in finding an image that will go well with the page layout and will absolutely trust what the caption on the image is telling them. I've seen terrible examples of wrongly captioned bird species as well - a picture researcher who does not know their birds of prey won't pick up on a wrongly captioned bird, because they don't know what they are looking at anyway and will only pick the "prettiest" image. The editor probably won't know any better either, it's just a bird to them. The writer, who should know better, only finds out when the thing is already printed up and it's too late to change. I imagine sometimes writers tear their hair out when they see what their work is illustrated with.

 

That slideshow however was just sensationalist rubbish and looked like someone without a clue looked for pretty pictures first then included fun "facts" from wikipedea to go with them. No excuse for that.

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I agree that there is no excuse for sloppy writing and research, but that is not our end of the business. If the writers make mistakes that's their problem.

What is our business is to get our part of the information correct and there is no excuse for photographing an Amanita citrina and calling it a Death Cap, in the first example, and a Destroying Angel the second example. The three species don't look even closely alike.

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I agree Christine, I think it's vital not to be sloppy about this. I was replying to Semmicks comment about wether the writer needs to be more careful, and pointing out that how their article is illustrated may not be up to them. Which is why accurate captioning is so important - because that captioning is often taken in good faith by people who are not experts.

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Perhaps we're not experts, but surely we have a duty (even if only to ourselves) to get the caption, description and keywords right.  If you photograph a subject you're not familiar with, I think you have to do some research so you can do a reasonable job of communication what is in the image..

 

I know keywords can be tricky - I often find myself looking at my own keywords and wondering if I would be happy to find that image in a particular search.  Is the image "about" the keyword, or does it simply contain an instance of the keyword?  Both types of keyword seem reasonable to me, but I'm not a buyer....

 

Regards

Lionel

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Perhaps we're not experts, but surely we have a duty (even if only to ourselves) to get the caption, description and keywords right.  If you photograph a subject you're not familiar with, I think you have to do some research so you can do a reasonable job of communication what is in the image..

 

I know keywords can be tricky - I often find myself looking at my own keywords and wondering if I would be happy to find that image in a particular search.  Is the image "about" the keyword, or does it simply contain an instance of the keyword?  Both types of keyword seem reasonable to me, but I'm not a buyer....

 

Regards

Lionel

 

Absolutely agree Lionel + when the photographer has concluded the research and is still not sure - keep the caption and keywording generic.

Don't call a fish a salmon if you don't know for sure that it is a salmon.

My irritation is because these inaccuracies reflect on all of us, on the reputation of the picture library, and ultimately on prices. No excuse.

 

Christine

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Accurate captions are essential. If not sure about a detail then either don't put the picture up or use generic terms. Anyone working professionally in the industry, particularly on newspapers, knows the you never assume anything.

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Are we experts or not? Two people agree with me we are not experts, thats all I am saying. Why the down votes? I am not saying we shouldnt keyword properly. 

 

Are the people voting me down suggesting that we are experts on all subjects we photograph? Am I supposed to know all flowers, animals, insects, bugs,  landscapes, etc by name? Everything we ever shoot? 

 

I certainly think not. That doesnt mean I am keywording randomly. 

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@Semmick Photo: I can't see any reason you should be voted down.  How do you tell if you're voted up or down?

 

Regards

Lionel

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We are not experts either, on what we shoot, necessarily 

True, but neither should we pretend to be if we aren't. Incorrectly captioned nature photos on Alamy are very common. I've even seen hoverflies captioned as wasps, moths as butterflies.

Accurate captions are very important for all images, but whereas it is usually possible to identify a church or statue with a bit of research or a guidebook, nature can be much, much harder, even for a specialist. Many species of insect can only be identified for certain with a dead specimen and a microscope.

An incomplete caption, though not much use to many potential customers, is always preferable to a wrong one.

If I can't be sure of a species I will either keep the caption simply to 'fungus', 'shieldbug' etc or, more likely, let it languish in my 'unidentified' folder, unless it has particular artistic merit.

There are plenty specialist libraries out there who are experts in their fields and have a reputation for reliability.

The Alamyrank system goes some way to sorting out bad keywording - I'm not sure it is so effective with bad captions.

Edited by Phil Robinson
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It seems I am having trouble getting my point across. I am not disagreeing with anyone here. 

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