Week 2 – Authenticity of a Photograph

Looking at how photos can be manipulated so easily in this technological age, it’s easy to see how truth in photos can be tested. I’m an avid follower of display and graphical technology, not too long ago Nvidia released information on a new technology called GAN 2.0 or Generative Adversarial Network. This tech can generate new faces based on a collection of already captured faces producing a new type of problem. The main affected photographic platform I’d expect to see issues with this tech is stock imaging. Many portraits with randomised backgrounds are already on stock imaging sites so how would these ‘copies’ be prevented or identified from being used as real photos would. I’d see this become a real world problem to photographers who rely on selling their portraits on these sites.


Where there’s always been the issue of ‘real’ photographs through manipulation, generation of images is a interesting problem. I would not categories these generations as photographs because they haven’t been captured with a camera. To the untrained, even trained eye they carry uncanny resemblance to a portrait. With face-swapping already a issue in social media and on the rare occasion the news, in the near future this could hail a change of how a photo is seen, would the first instinct of a photo be ‘is this real?’ compared to today’s thoughts on seeing an image for the first time.

Thinking of how a photograph is real compared to pictures, photographs are something that’s been constructed in relation to the photographers agenda, whereas pictures are something you’d see from the untrained eye on holiday. A photo holds so much more than just visual detail as Richard Avedon said about his portraits “My portraits are more about me than they are about the people I photograph”. Reading a photograph can tell a story of life for the person being captured and the person behind the camera, they may be invisible to see for many but reading a photo is much more rewarding that just relying on the visual aspects.

Snyder and Allen talk about different perceptions outside of the common visual experience in relation to Eadweard Muybridge succeeding in the freezing a fast moving horse. This can be related to todays perception of photo editing, it’s another perspective after every edit but like with Muybridge, it caused people to neglect the discovery. A simple edit to create a better photo is a choice the photographer makes, yes it may create a better photo but whether it stays within the true nature of photography can be questioned. To the average person though, anything that seems a different perspective from what they can see with their own eyes results in questions, ‘how was it created’ or ‘how can I see that’. Questioning photography pursues further knowledge of itself, discovering new techniques or new readings from within the photo.

Questioning the aspects of the nature of my photographs, whilst I do edit my photographs I keep them as ‘real’ as possible. Never removing parts of a photograph to keep it as true as possible is a goal for my work. The subject matter I decided to photograph isn’t a particularly volatile subject for post-production issues compared to something like documentary photos, however keeping the perception of another world raises the issues I’ve mentioned in the previous paragraph. Could a new perception be shunned by the public or would it be welcomed with opened arms. Even so I aim to create a genuine perspective of nature that seems peculiar.



Click to access 1812.04948.pdf


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