November 4, 2009

Following the publication of the picture, the situation developed very quickly. Walski didn’t realise the impact until the scandal reached him, when his superiors finally got hold of him by phone. After sending the original photographs to his editors, realising what he had done, Walski called Colin Crawford wanting to resign. “No, they are going to fire you,” replied Crawford. (Walker, 2003) By that time it was out of the D.O.P.’s hands.

In his interview with David Walker, Walski communicates his feelings about the event and the situation he got himself into.


“Why I chose this course is something I’ll go over and over in my head for a long time. […] It’s not just me. It’s what I’ve done to my co-workers, to the Times, to other photographers that were there. I feel really bad. […] I wake up in the morning and can’t believe that I did it, that it’s happening to me. But I did, and I can’t blame anybody but myself.” (Ibid)


Walski realised the fact that he was unethical and that his mistakes had consequences, not only for him, but for the entire photography industry, as others have stated.

“I’ve been a professional photographer my whole professional life. The craft I value the most–I doubt if I can get back into it. I feel like I’ve disgraced it. I’ve tarnished it. What I did tarnished every photographer to a degree, and I feel really bad about that. And the humiliation of being fired…” recalls Walski. (ibid)


The photographer pondered about the future of his career and about his position at the time. Once dismissed from the L.A. Times, Walski fully grasped the gravity of the situation. As he talked to his friend Bartletti, he announced: “I f—ed up, and now no one will touch me. I went from the front line for the greatest newspaper in the world, and now I have nothing. No cameras, no car, nothing.” (Irby, 2003) The Times had provided all the equipment for him. Walski had then reached a turning-point in his life: “My whole career–if it’s not over, it’s certainly going to change dramatically.” (Walker, 2003)


“I did a Google search on my name, and it comes up in about 25 languages. Every photographer wants to be known for a picture he’s taken. I’ll be known for this. It’s not something I’m proud of.” (Ibid)

And Walski was right: a Google search made using his name now directs only to websites referring to this 2003 scandal.


Brian Walski obviously felt very bad for what he had done, he did not however try to justify himself, he took full responsibility for his actions.


He now runs a private photography firm called Brian Walski Photography near Denver, Colorado. We can notice that he has retired to a place far away from anything with a direct connection to that unfortunate period of his career. Furthermore, no content of his website alludes to any of it. Walski has definitely put the 2003 incident behind him.


How did Walski’s superiors deal with the situation?




Walker, David (7 May 2003). Brian Walski Discusses his Doctored Photo, Photo District News. [online], Inc. Available from: <> [Accessed on 28 October 2009]


Irby, Kenneth (2 April 2003 at 12:00 am). L.A. Times Photographer Fired Over Altered Image. [online] Poynter Online. Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions. Available from: <> [Accessed on 28 October 2009].

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: