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A Response to Photography as a Weapon Article



In the New York Times Article “Photography as a Weapon” by Errol Morris the author poses the question as to whether or not photographs serve as reliable evidence for fact since they can be easily tampered with as was the case with a recent fake photo of Iranian missiles. He brings in an expert in digital photography named Hany Farid to discuss this idea. I found Hany’s input to be the most interesting part of any of the assigned readings.

Farid suggests that although he doesn’t fully understand the complexity of why our brain seems to trust images, the reality is that visual imagery is a powerful tool. He then poses the question as to whether or not future generations will be as trusting of images now that anyone with basic photo software can manipulate a photo were as previously it could only be done by an expert?

I personally believe that people as a natural response tend to believe an image they see but with the number of photo shopped images in circulation I feel as though my brain has been trained to then ignore that impulse and question as to whether that image is real by doing a follow up Google search. It is important to understand also that a photo doesn’t necessarily have to be manipulated to be deceiving. For example this photograph:

Surfer with Shark


At first glimpse and with a caption like surfer and shark the viewer automatically assumes that this is an image of a surfer with a very large shark right next to him in the water. However the reality is that this is an image of a dolphin. To the untrained eye they seem indistinguishable but an expert can explain that sharks have vertical tail fins and that dolphins have a horizontal tail fin which is visible in the image above.

It is important as well educated individuals that we continue to question everything we see. If we can think critically and compare the sources we are receiving to other information we have already read, reading the new information in a skeptical yet receptive manner we will help forge a more knowledgeable society.

~ by kroll on September 19, 2012.

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