Photoshop has, at times, created problems for ethical photography. Now before I tell you what brought that to mind, I also have to say that many people do not understand how photography really works. They think the camera is a perfect recorder of reality. It isn't.
Cameras, for a lot of reasons, have a number of limitations that prevent them from capturing what we can see. This is not a digital issue. Andreas Feininger wrote about this problem 50 years ago in his classic photo books. Because of this, sometimes "Photoshop" is needed in order to make an image more accurately reflect what was really in front of the camera.
Mark Larson recently sent me a link to something that happened at the Sacramento Bee newspaper (http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/01/4232790/setting-it-straight-photo-manipulated.html). A photographer there combined two images of egrets to "better show" a part of the subject. He was fired for this manipulation. Here are the images from the Sacramento Bee website.
The manipulated photo is wrong on many levels. A lot of folks want to simply condemn such an image for "changing reality" (which it does and is not an ethical thing for a newspaper), but for nature photography, this brings up something, that to me, is more disturbing. As nature photographers, we are the "eyes" of the public. People believe photography, so we owe it to them to show nature as honestly as we can. I don't want people to get the wrong impression of nature.
In this Sacramento Bee situation, the photographer has literally created a behavior of the birds in the final photo that is not real. Notice how in the first image the great egret is "backing away" with its neck (a normal behavior when another bird is trying to get its dinner), but in the second, it almost looks like the bird is handing the frog over. This photographer was just not thinking.
Ethics in terms of what a photo looks like is important, but I think the discussion sometimes gets lost in arbitrary discussion of the photograph's photographic qualities (the "manipulation") rather than what is happening to the depiction of reality. This becomes important because it goes beyond "Photoshop."
This is one reason why I have always been very disturbed by the John Dominis LIFE magazine photo of a leopard attacking a baboon. To this day, that photo is touted as a "great wildlife photo", yet the story is tragic. The leopard is a captive animal and was deliberately put into an enclosure with the baboon just for the photograph. To me, this is a more ethically egregious photo than the Photoshopped egrets, but both images are important for the way they pretend to portray "nature reality" when they don't.
I think it is also important to go beyond looking at photos simply as being "manipulated." I am far more interested in how nature is portrayed. I believe that a lot of "fang and claw" wildlife shows on television that portray nature as vicious and aggressive are also "manipulated", though nothing has been digitally manipulated.
This is also important in that young people are very comfortable with the computer and working on it. They may not see a simple change in the graphics of an image as being significant or even lying (which may be what the Sacramento Bee photographer thought), but it is the change of the world into something that does not exist that is important to me as being the big problem (and an issue that cannot be argued based on "I was just doing simple computer work").