More on FAQ #222

222. What does this website mean when it says that photographers have to “convince” viewers to trust each photograph?

It simply means that the “free ride” of the early digital era is over (see #4 on this page). Photographers can no longer put photographs before viewers and assume that viewers will trust the photograph if it only looks convincing.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, most of the public assumed that if a photograph looked undoctored, it probably was undoctored.

Digital photography changed all that, because even substantive changes can now be completely undetectable no matter how closely a photograph is scrutinized.

The ease of such manipulations can be seen in the video linked in #209.

As people learn to assume that impressive photographs are “Doctored unless labeled otherwise,” photographers are learning that the burden of proof is on them if they want the public to trust their photographs.

With good reason, members of the general public no longer blindly trust unfamiliar photographs the way they routinely did in the era before Photoshop.

In the 21st century, viewers have to be “convinced.”