#7 in a series of background briefs

On the Trust Checklist
as “a blueprint for photography’s future

  • 1. Why does TCQ say that the Trust Checklist is “a blueprint for photography’s future”?

    Because the Checklist is specifically designed to answer what will be one of the biggest questions of the 21st century: “Which images put before the public can be trusted?”

    (Photography is now the world’s most universal language, and “mistrust of published information” is shaping up to be one of the major issues of our time.)

    The Trust Checklist uses timeless requirements that ensure it will keep identifying trustworthy photographs no matter what technological changes come along in the future.

    In other words, the Trust Checklist will never be obsolete.

  • 2. What are TCQ’s “timeless requirements” that won’t be negated by any technological changes in the future?

    A. Requiring that the photograph have all 9 characteristics that have been shared by the world’s most-widely trusted photographs for almost 200 years. More

    B. Requiring that the photograph depict what the camera saw, not what the photographer wishes the camera had seen.

    C. Requiring that the photograph be left “as is” after recording except for the few post-exposure changes that are allowed by worldwide consensus. More

    D. Requiring that the photograph meet universal standards for non-misrepresentation of both the appearance and circumstances of the subject depicted.

    See also Summary #20

  • 3. Is TCQ saying that the Trust Checklist is “a blueprint” for ALL photographs in the future?

    No, only for photographs that might cause viewers to wonder whether they can believe their eyes.

    (For example, the Trust Checklist does not apply to these categories of photographs, where viewers are less inclined to believe their eyes.)

    But since most of the billions of photographs made every day — whether doctored or undoctored — are made to serve as records (“Look; see where I was and what I saw!”)...

    . . .
    the pool of photographs that can lead viewers to “wonder whether they can believe their eyes” is large. Very large.

  • 4. What determines which manipulations are allowed?

    That is explained here.

  • 5. Will there be other “blueprints for trustworthy photographs” in photography's future?

    In theory there could be, especially considering the increasing need for ways of identifying trustworthy photographs (see #1 above).

    But it is impossible to make a “blueprint” that is more strict than TCQ while still being available to every photographer everywhere.

    Thus any other blueprint would either rely on the same 9 characteristics that TCQ is built on (and the same worldwide consensus, and the same universal standards)—

    — or it would rely on weaker criteria, in which case the resulting photographs would be regarded as less trustworthy than “Guaranteed TCQ” photographs are regarded.

    More on creating a less-strict standard than TCQ

  • 6. Why doesn’t the Trust Checklist allow popular post-exposure manipulations like adding bokeh blur, or reshaping things in a photograph to change the apparent perspective, or combining multiple exposures in a sweep panorama on a smartphone?

    Because there is no way to prevent photographers from carrying those manipulations to an extreme (rinairs doesn’t allow them, so rinairs can’t be used to set limits on them).

    Anytime any manipulation is not allowed by the Trust Checklist, it is because there is no way to limit that manipulation in a way that will prevent the making of obviously untrustworthy photographs—

    — and the “Guaranteed TCQ” label would be worthless if “obviously untrustworthy photographs” qualified for the label.

    This is explained in the brief “Why isn’t my favorite manipulation allowed?

    See also During exposure fine | Post-exposure never


For more on how and why TCQ is “future-oriented,” see
The logic of TCQ