By Joseph Parish
In its infant stages the art of photography may have been innocent and true however, over the years it has slowly been contaminated and changed. Shortly after its inception the photograph was subject to “touch-up” actions meant to enhance the image photographed. This is much the same as it is today with digital photography.
I have found that on occasions, I have touched up or modified a photo simply because I desired to stress a particular point on my website. It was not meant as a demurring intent or as a means of being vindictive but merely to illustrate a fine point in the discussion.
With this said it is easy to imagine how the art of digital photography could become embroiled in various arguments based upon its ability to truthfully record actual events. We have the technology today to change any photo to look like something it is not. It would not involve a drastic amount of effort to place me in a position where I would be enjoying last week’s ball game with Elvis or seeing me in a “kissing” position with Marilyn Monroe. These images which we view may not be completely honest and true however it would appear by all aspect as an actual event.
As indicated in a recent PBS Documentary entitled “American Photography: A Century of Images” we can see how images were manipulated in the past and it is likely that they will be so modified in the future as well. It isn’t a matter of if the digital age has brought an end to truth in photos as much as how much. It is easier and quicker now then ever before to modify photos. The light seen at the end of the tunnel however shows that a trained expert can usually pick out these fakes in no time at all. In this respect, I disagree with the article when they state that “it is not easy to identify the fakes”. In respect however of the article, I must agree with the author about the lack of footprints for digital photos. No negative means no proof, in all reality.
I personally do not perceive a drastic change from our “business as usual” when it comes to photos. It merely takes some prudent knowledge and detective work to note the fakes from the real. As the technology gets even more sophisticated we are likely to witness an increase in the number of fakes which we view in public galleries.
Copyright @2011 Joseph Parish