Photography’s Next Frontier

“Wow, great photo!
But is it real or is it Photoshop?”

  • 1. Multiply that question billions of times over...

    . . . and you’re looking at photography’s future.

    • All around the world, one of the great questions of the 21st century will be “When can we believe our eyes?”

    The next frontier in photography will be creatively responding to the biggest change in photography’s history: the new reality that photography isn't just about “how the photo looks” anymore.

    • TCQ alone uses that new reality to help identify both trustworthy images and trustworthy sources of images.

  • 2. How TCQ works (it’s very simple)

    • The reason we don’t know “when we can believe our eyes” anymore is because we know that in the age of Photoshop, heavily manipulated photographs can look just as believable as unaltered photos look.

    • Seen another way, there is no longer any reliable connection between a photo’s appearance and its trustworthiness.

    • That’s why when a photo looks impressive, the viewer should not trust it unless the source of the photo uses non-visual means to convince the viewer to trust it.

    • Unfortunately, it takes a lot of words to explain what is and is not done to trustworthy photographs.

    • Fortunately, the two-word label “Guaranteed TCQ” sums up all of those words. TCQ covers what most people mean by “real” when they ask, “Is that photo real or is it Photoshop?”

  • 3. “Guaranteed TCQ” = A ‘Nonfiction’ label for photographs

    • Photographs qualify for the “Guaranteed TCQ” label when they fully meet all 9 “Trust Checklist” Qualifications.

    • The Trust Checklist is a check for the 9 characteristics that are shared by the most-widely trusted photographs in the world.

    • It is easy to make photos that qualify for the “Guaranteed TCQ” label even with a smartphone. (Summary: Don’t add any visual effects, and leave the photo as is.)

    • Viewers decide whether to trust the “Guaranteed TCQ” label based on both the credibility of the photographer who is making the guarantee and the credibility of the context in which viewers see the label.

  • 4. A global transition is coming

    Thanks to ever-more-amazing smartphone wizardry, millions of flawless-looking images are put online every hour of every day.

    But once every photograph you encounter looks perfect, how do you decide when you can believe your eyes?

    It turns out that visual perfection is often of limited value when the viewer doesn’t trust the photograph. That’s why the public is increasingly looking for authenticity in photographs and not merely “visual perfection.”

    In other words, the better that smartphone cameras become at adding effects that the camera didn’t see, the more viewers will want to see photos of what the camera actually saw.

    That evolution is inevitable in the digital age; it cannot be reversed. TCQ was configured to help lead the transition into that future.

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