More on FAQ #216

216. Why do viewers trust photos depicting “what the camera saw” more than they trust photos that have been doctored to depict “what the photographer wishes the camera had seen”?

(This is a reference to the “Trust” page.)

1. Part of the answer to #216 is that viewers are more wary when they realize that a photograph has been changed to depict “what the photographer wishes the camera had seen.”

In other words, viewers wonder which trust-related characteristics such photos may be missing (see #215).

2. But there’s also a more instinctive, less cerebral answer to question #216:

People’s reference point when assessing realistic-looking photographs is

What would I have seen at the scene with my own eyes had I been there when the photo was taken?”

Since they know they can’t transport themselves back in time to be at the scene depicted in the photo, viewers regard “what the camera saw” as a surrogate for “what they would have seen.”

As it says in #20 of the Summary page, “It always has been, and always will be, about human seeing.

See also this background brief