More on FAQ #317

Only recently have photographers had to choose between “trusworthiness” and “appearance”

  • 1a. In the film era photographers didn’t have to choose between “appearance” and “trustworthiness,” because both could easily be optimized in the same photo (click here)

    1b. In the digital era photographers often have to make a choice between “appearance” and “trustworthiness,” because it is difficult to optimize both in the same photo (as explained in this brief)

  • 2a. In the film era it was hard to doctor a photo without detection, so the photos with the best “appearance” were usually no less “trustworthy.” (click here)

    2b. In the digital era it is easy to doctor a photo without detection, so the photos with the best “appearance” are often less “trustworthy.”

  • 3a. In the film era, since viewers could usually detect the doctoring of photos, if a photo looked undoctored it was not unreasonable to assume that it WAS undoctored. (click here)

    3b. In the digital era, since viewers cannot reliably detect the doctoring of photos, the fact that a photo looks undoctored is no guaranteed that it IS undoctored.

  • 4a. In the film era, the idea that “the appearance final image is all that matters” was fairly universal. Because of 3a, photography was essentially about “How the photograph looks.” (click here)

    4b. In the digital era, the public is learning that “the appearance of the final image is not all that matters.” Because of 3b, photography isn’t just about “How the photograph looks” anymore. (See also this brief)


More on the challenge of undetectable manipulation in the film era

More on the ease of undetectable manipulation in the digital era