iPhoto 6: Image appears when browsing but is blank or exclamation mark when editing

Under certain conditions, a photo appears normally when browsing thumbnails in the Library or an album but, at the same time, shows up as either blank white or an exclamation point on a gray background when you enter Edit mode

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In the case of an exclamation point, the photo might be missing from its proper location. When blank white appears, you might have a permissions issue.

If you are using Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, try updating to version 10.4.6 or later to avoid an issue which might cause these symptoms. If that does not help, or if using Mac OS X 10.3.9, try to locate the image or resolve the issue by following the steps below.

Part I: Locating the image

In this first series of steps, you can skip to Part II, below, as soon as you successfully locate the file.

  1. Select the image's thumbnail in Album or Library view.
  2. Control-click or right-click the photo, and choose Show File from the shortcut menu. If successful, the photo's master file will appear in a Finder window.
  3. If you locate the file this way, try opening it in Preview to be sure that it's a readable and complete image.
  4. If the Finder does not display the desired photo, or if you can't choose Show File from the shortcut menu, try searching for the file using Spotlight the Find command in the Finder (File > Find).
  5. If that didn't locate the photo, try choosing Show Original File or Revert To Original from the shortcut menu (as in step 2). What this does: If you previously edited the image in iPhoto, this might succeed in reverting to a pre-edited copy.
  6. If you still can't locate the photo, you should stop here and reimport the image from your backup location or media.

Part II: Finding and resolving permissions issues

  1. Once you locate the photo file, select it in the Finder.
  2. From the File menu, choose Get Info.
  3. In Info window that appears, click the disclosure triangle near the bottom to reveal Ownership & Permissions.
  4. Make sure that you have Read or Read & Write access to this file. If necessary, change this using the menus.
  5. Close the Info window.
  6. Try to view the photo again in iPhoto.
  7. If the photo still does not appear in iPhoto, try reimporting the file by dragging its file icon from the Finder onto the iPhoto icon in the Dock.

Preventing this issue in the future

To keep this from happening again, avoid renaming, moving, or deleting items in the iPhoto Library folder.

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