More on FAQ #215

215. Why do viewers trust a photograph less when they think it is missing any of the nine characteristics?

Because viewers’ level of trust in a photograph depends on their confidence in their ability to “read” the photograph based on their knowledge of how single-exposure, undoctored photographs “work.”

Thanks to their “photographic literacy,” viewers in the 21st century are usually confident in their ability to “read” most photographs that they know (or believe) have all nine characteristics.

But when viewers know — or merely suspect — that one or more of those nine characteristics is missing from a photograph, they lose confidence in their ability to to apply their knowledge of how photographs “work.” Their mental tools are no longer reliable.

They then lose confidence in their ability to “read” that photo and will trust it less than a comparable photograph that they know — or believe — has all nine characteristics.

TCQ’s definitions of “undoctored” and “doctored”