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Photographer blasts NBC for 'airbrushing' Lia Thomas' photos

"I thought something was honestly wrong with the video. But then, I watched it again and thought, 'Wait a minute, this appears to be intentional. Lia's features are softened.'"

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Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
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The photographer that snapped a photo of Lia Thomas in the pool house at the NCAA championships over the weekend is speaking out after NBC’s TODAY Show allegedly altered the photo, softening Thomas’ features.

Photographer and University of Pennsylvania alumni Erica Denhoff expressed her shock and "disappointment" to the Washington Examiner over the edited photos.

At first, she said she thought "something was honestly wrong with the video."

"When I first noticed the airbrushing on the segment referenced, I thought something was honestly wrong with the video. But then, I watched it again and thought, 'Wait a minute, this appears to be intentional. Lia's features are softened,'" Denhoff told the Washington Examiner.

"I then went to my original photo, on the sites that they could access to license the photo, and compared it and immediately saw a difference."

"I pride myself on providing authentic images as a photojournalist," Denhoff added. "It's really important as photojournalists that we transmit authentic photos that have not been altered."

Denhoff, who was at the NCAA championships as a credentialed member of the press and a 2008 graduate of the school Thomas attends, UPenn, where she revealed she was also "a varsity athlete on the track and field team," said she took photos of Thomas and other athletes over the course of the long weekend event.

According to Denhoff, she was "following the news to see how my images have been used to tell Lia's story" when she then stumbled upon the altered photo displayed on the TODAY Show.

"To me, it definitely seems like something was going on with the airbrushing/noise reduction of all of Lia's photos in this segment," she said, referring to the now viral March 17 segment.

"My photo that they licensed was an authentic photo," Denhoff added. "I'm surprised and disappointed that TODAY altered my image of Lia for this particular news segment."

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