This is why there is a line between fiction and non-fiction.
Altering photos that purport to be accurate representations of actual events is emphatically NOT "normal." Any reputable news organization will fire people who do it.
Advertising photos, in contrast, exploit all the tools of the photographer's art -- electronic or not -- to present a very carefully manicured image.
For this reason, it's important to be clear about whether a particular image purports to be a historical record or not. Is it your position that publications officially approved by the Aikikai are advertising materials, are seen as such by the Aikikai, and should be interpreted as such by the aikido community?
First reality. The viewpoint of promotions has to be understood. The viewpoint of public relations. Understand these viewpoints before progressing any further in any discussion here, or thoughts about it.
Second reality. The Aikikai is an organization, a business.
Third reality. Protions and pr are in charge of images, perceptions given to fit. Historical is not a factor.
A picture cannot thus purport to be an historical record, that's an impossibility no matter what it's given as.
Any historical record is monitored and edited by the pr of the company. Those in pr not doing that job are the ones sacked not others.
An Historical record would have to be done by a separate body with no connections for or against the organization.
So yes, it's obvious to me they are all advertising materiels and should be seen as such by the aikido community.