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People are bad at spotting manipulation

Discussion in 'Digital Image Editing & Printing' started by beatnik69, Jul 21, 2017.

  1. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Ah interesting, so same images, but different manipulations? Which again points to the point of the test being 'how much can be done before people notice with confidence' or some such.
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    yes - also I think your score is given on the yes/no not whether you thought it had been changed. I don't think I selected any correct square for the modification when I made my selection (I didn't say I was sure) having looked over 2 shoulders now but I wasn't presented with either of the two obvious fakes I saw in the last selection. Our scores were 8,5, and 7.
  3. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    EightBitTony likes this.
  4. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    Since doing this I've been given a link to a story that the Daily Fail ran on this study. On their website, they showed you two images - one unretouched and one that had had some kind of manipulation done to it. You were challenged to spot where the manipulation was done. Some of the pictures shown on the DM's website also appeared in the test that I saw. So for instance there were two pictures of a woman standing on a bridge in the vicinity of some boats. You were challenged to see if you could spot which had been manipulated, knowing that one definitely had been. Clearly the point of the study is nothing to do with whether the shots were worthy of the effort taken to alter them, but absolutely about how aware we are, or are not, of the manipulations that are regularly done to photographs these days. We can look on and laugh at the cackhanded attempts of Russian dictators to remove unfavoured personel from the photographic lineup now, because the alterations look so obvious to us. But we are fed a constant diet of altered images these days and it seems that in general our ability to spot them is pretty poor. What are the implications for the spreading of, oh, say, fake news?
  5. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    Exactly. And as photographers, we should know better than most that it was never true that the camera didn't lie, even perspective can be manipulated to suggest things that weren't there. So you'd think we'd be better at spotting them ... which all circles around to, when will CGI replace real product shots, since people can't tell the difference anyway ;)
  6. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    Appreciation of the truth about photography is only coming into line with other means of communication.
    There never has been a way of knowing that what we hear or read is factual or not.
    History is written by the winners.
    And what we know of new products comes from the advertisers or salesmen.
    Politics is not about truth, it is opinion and often lies.
    Art in all its foms is creative rather than factual.
    From the earliest days, photography has been subject to invention and manipulation.
    Why should any one be surprised.
  7. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    People lie. People take pictures. Therefor pictures are lies. :cool:
    Terrywoodenpic likes this.
  8. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    Insects have six legs.
    Bananarama had six legs.
    Bananarama was an insect... :eek:
    EightBitTony, dream_police and Geren like this.
  9. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    I think the issue is that photography, often, (not always, but often) gives off a much more convincing APPEARANCE of truth. It's immediate. It looks exactly like reality (or, okay, can do). There's no immediately obvious need to apply a 'sceptic filter' to what we think we can simply 'see'. A painting has brush strokes, paint, canvas, a frame. These signify to the viewer that it has been 'created' by a process, that it is an interpretation of the (a) truth. Words appear in books or newspapers or in letters and when we see it, we have to first of all be able to understand the language it is written in, and then we are also conscious that there is a typeface, ink, paper surface, handwriting - once again, we are on some levels at least aware that this is something that has been brought to us by both a physical process (of printing, bookbinding, publishing, hand lettering etc) and that it represents an interpretation by an author. Even if we've been conditioned to believe that the written word has power, it's more a case of of being persuaded by someone else's actions/thoughts than accepting it as reality. The issue seems to stem from your statement that 'art in all its forms is creative rather than factual' because there's still, even now, a sense that photography is not art. It has its roots in science - and that in part persuades some that it retains something of the factual. Also we tend to believe what we see, or at least what we think we can see, and if a photograph looks, on the surface, to provide us with a replica of reality, we tend not to question it.

    These days I'd argue that the general populace has become more savvy with regard to awareness of photo manipulation - few people believe that adverts aren't 'shopped to within an inch. There can't be many people who think Kim Kardashian's skin really looks that smooth. Kids apply smoothing, brightening, eye-popping, saturating filters to every selfy they fling out on Snapchat. And yet... when something is so ubiquitous, do we ever really stop to think about the implications? If we know but choose to ignore that pop stars don't really look the way they are presented in official media channels, how much of a leap is it to suggest that it doesn't really matter if the images we see on the news are faithful to the truth?
  10. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Gustave Flaubert wrote "There is no truth. There is only perception". Benjamin Franklin wrote “Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see.” My point being that reporters lie as often as anyone and possibly more than most. In that context, photography and video while recording what is in front of the camera depend entirely on the intentions of those behind it.
  11. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    I think you over estimate the general population. I think it depends entirely what your hobbies and past experiences are.

    I look around me and see a lot of people who believe what they see and take some convincing to be persuaded that it may be otherwise.

    This illusion is the best one I've ever found for demonstrating it (and I've posted it here before).



    A and B are the same shade of grey.

    I've done everything you can imagine you have to do to demonstrate this truth to people, including printing it out, cutting them out and putting them next to each other - and people will still think it's some kind of magic trick, and not just their brain lying to them.

    I'm fascinated by the concept of truth (my blog is called 'perception is truth', although the content is no-where near as high brow) and how photography plays into that.

    Once you realise you can no longer trust your own eyes and your own brain - everything is fluid.
  12. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    Oh yes, I really like that illusion, and I know there are people who just refuse to believe it - but I do think there's much more awareness about advertising adn photoshop etc now. There are vast numbers of 'stories' of celebrities posting images of themselves online nad the comments sections are riddled with people accusing them of fakery. Mostly with a fair degree of justification! But as I said above, I think there's still an assumption that certain kinds of images represent 'the truth'. People know celebrities 'shop themselves into oblivion. People 'shop themselves into oblivion. I asked my stepdaughter to send us a more recent photograph of herself and when it arrived I told my other half that we'd just leave the old one up because she'd made herself look like some kind of alien with the skin smoothing filters etc that she had applied. I don't know WHO she thought she was kidding but it wasn't me. Now, yes, I am making, using and working with photographic images on a daily basis and I suppose it's possible that someone else wouldn't have recognised what was going on (although honestly, i find that hard to believe). But when we pick up a newspaper or read a news story online that shows us Presidents meeting in Brussels, or being inaugurated, or dodgy property deals being done by Princes...we rather expect the accompanying images to be unaltered. Are we kidding ourselves?
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  13. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    The occasional press photographer is pilloried and sacked for moving a totally unimportant object from a news photograph, to show how honest the press barons are. All Tosh and corruption.
  14. IvorCamera

    IvorCamera Well-Known Member

    I got 6 out of ten, but those photo's were very poor, even for examples........
  15. steveandthedogs

    steveandthedogs Well-Known Member


    Better than I thought I had done.


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