#14 in a series of background briefs

The 21st-century photographer’s choice

Optimize “Trustworthiness”?
Or optimize “Appearance”?

It’s a natural question:

Q: Why would any photographer not do everything possible to optimize the appearance of a photograph?

A: Because the photographer knows that in the digital age, many kinds of visual “enhancements” reduce the trustworthiness of photographs.

In short, the photographer is choosing “trustworthiness” over “appearance.”

When photographers perform “whatever manipulations they want” on a photograph — or allow their smartphones to do it for them — they cannot expect viewers to trust the result!

 

The big choice

Photographers in the digital age routinely have to choose between optimizing “trustworthiness” vs. optimizing “appearance.”

It is often impossible to fully optimize both.

1. In order to optimize “trustworthiness,” the photographer often must forego many changes that would improve the photograph’s “appearance.”

Photographers choose “1” when what matters most is “reassuring viewers that they can believe their eyes.”

2. In order to optimize “appearance,” the photographer often must make changes that reduce the photograph’s “trustworthiness.”

Photographers choose “2” when what matters most is “the appearance of the final photograph.”

Most photographers make “1” photographs sometimes and “2” photographs other times, although some photographers basically make only one kind or the other.