More on FAQ #230

230. Don’t all photographs lie?

“All” is a fairly sweeping word. If asked to think about it, most people would probably say, “Some photographs lie, and many do not.”

It is unlikely that many people would say that ALL of the photos they have ever taken are “lies.”

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Assuming that question #230 isn’t referring to limitations of the medium that keep any two-dimensional image from perfectly portraying a three-dimensional scene,

. . . the two most common ways that photographs can “lie”
are both addressed by TCQ:

1. Photographs can “lie” about the circumstances under which the photograph was made.

(Examples would be “a set-up scene that looks spontaneous” or “a zoo animal that looks like it’s in the wild.”)

Deception about “circumstances” has always been an issue, since the beginning of photography; it is not something new in the age of Photoshop.

Q8 ensures that TCQ-qualified photographs don’t lie about the circumstances under which the photograph was made.

2. Photographs can “lie” about the appearance of the scene photographed (that is, about “what the camera saw”).

Deception about “appearance” has advanced greatly in the public consciousness in the 21st century, now that digital technology has made it easy to doctor photographs without detection by viewers. (See also here and see #209.)

Q7 ensures that TCQ-qualified photographs don’t lie about the scene’s “appearance,” as judged by rinairs.

Questions #515 and #516 deal with #1 and #2 above, respectively.