More on FAQ #116

116. Why would photographers hold “non-news” photographs to reportage-based standards like the Trust Checklist?

Because viewers do! Viewers don’t magically suspend their curiosity about a photograph just because it isn’t in a “news” setting.

Some photographers say that viewers “shouldn’t care” about manipulation if it’s not a news photo but the reality is that viewers are always going to be curious (see also #511).

And why should viewers suspend their curiosity? “News” photographs aren’t the only photographs that mean something different when they are TCQ than when they’re not.


Viewers’ questions tell the story

Viewers take it for granted that “news” photos meet reportage-based standards. It’s “non-news” photos that provoke viewers to ask about about manipulation.

The frequency of questions like “Is it real or is it Photoshop?” in response to “non-news” photographs indicates that viewers are plenty curious about ANY photo that looks both (a) impressive and (b) undoctored

—even, or especially, when the subject is not “news.”


It’s not just viewers

It’s not just viewers who have reason to apply “reportage” standards to “non-news” photographs.

There are plenty of photographers who when they “tell” viewers something with a photograph want to be “believed.”

This is a longing as old as humanity itself.

For reasons explained on that linked page, plenty of photographers want to depict in undoctored photographs not just “news” events but also natural events, human events, weather events, sports events, celestial events, and life events.

Photographers of “non-news” subjects are unlikely to have their photos trusted at anything approaching newsphoto levels of trust

unless viewers can be convinced that the photographer chose to optimize trustworthiness over appearance.

TCQ is the surest way to convey that choice to viewers.