More on FAQ #207

207. Why is the public so skeptical of impressive-looking photographs now when the manipulation of photographs is as old as photography itself?

Because it is so much easier now to doctor photographs without detection than it was in pre-digital times.

“Detectability” is the big difference between then and now, a point often overlooked by the “Doctoring is as old as photography itself” contingent.

In the digital age it is ridiculously easy to undetectably doctor photographs and — just as importantly — the general public knows how easy it is.

Back in the film era (the 19th and 20th centuries), it was generally very difficult, time-consuming, and technically demanding to doctor photographs without detection by the viewer.

Knowing that most doctoring could be detected by viewers on close examination, in the pre-digital era the public wasn’t nearly as skeptical about the photographs they encountered.

But now that photographs can be radically altered without detection by viewers (no matter how carefully they look), the public has become understandably skeptical.

More on the difficulty of film-era manipulations

More on the ease of digital-era manipulations

More on why the public is skeptical