When can a photo be trusted?

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Trust in Photography: A Talk at the Luminance Conference

Last month, I had the opportunity to be the very first speaker at the inaugural Luminance photography conference organized by the folks at Photoshelter. It was an enjoyable opportunity for me to reconnect with the photography and design crowd I was more accustomed to working with when I was at Adobe, as opposed to the forensics crowd which I focus on more at Fourandsix. Of course, there is an intersection between those two spheres, which is what got me here in the first place.

The Photoshelter team put together quite a diverse set of speakers covering all aspects of photography, including everything from the new light field camera from Lytro to the amazing photographs of astronaut Donald Pettit. I gave a talk discussing how trust in photography has changed over the past hundred years, how inherently difficult it can be for us to trust our own eyes, and how to bring more objective measures to establishing truth in a photograph. You can watch a video of my talk below, but you also may want to visit the Photoshelter Luminance site for videos of the other sessions. Of the first few that have already been posted, the talk by retoucher Amy Dresser may be most appealing to those who enjoy our Photo Tampering Gallery. She demonstrates just how effectively photos can be transformed by a skilled artist who knows how to manipulate the details while maintaining a sense of reality, where appropriate. I’m confident you won’t be seeing her work on Photoshop Disasters any time soon.  

In addition to the video, I’ve contributed a post to the Photoshelter blog that talks a little bit about how forensics issues intruded into my world from my first year on the Photoshop team more than seventeen years ago, and how that ultimately led me to team up with Hany to found Fourandsix. It looks like that blog entry hasn’t been posted yet, so I’ll add a link here once it appears. [Update: You can now find that blog entry here.]


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Reader Comments (1)

Great job, Kevin. Very informative.

October 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterR. Pierce

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