Assignment 4: Real or Fake?

The object is to produce a photographic image to illustrate a book or magazine cover.  Covers are sales vehicles for their contents, and so often quite widely interpreted by art directors, illustrators and photographers.  The moral ground is therefore potentially ambiguous.


I’m not at all sure that I want to do this assignment as my personal preferences don’t lean toward making up images, alteration to some extent yes, but not out-and-out fakery.  The problem is though that to pass this section and module I must produce something, even if it galls me to do so.

The changing of, and faking of, images has been around almost since the negative – positive technique was invented by Fox-Talbot.  With the historical pedigree of this craft so well established and documented it still has the capacity to enrage the unsuspecting.  Clearly, to produce a faked image with the intent of passing it off as genuine is dishonest, but the perpetrators realise that under certain circumstances it is acknowledged and deemed acceptable, I’m thinking here of the advertising industry.  Even so there are limits to which even that section of society cannot step beyond with impunity.  But is fake and misleading the same thing?  A photograph can be genuine without any touching-up in Photoshop and still be very misleading, and is this ethical and moral?  For instance the following images were of the same property advertised by an estate agent, both are genuine but only one was used in the advertising brochure.  Fakery by omission.

Estate agent

Image 1: Estate Agents Advert

Estate agent 2

Image 2: What The Estate Agents Left Out

So where does fake begin?  Is it when a dust blemish is removed, or when an item that spoils the image is removed, or when a sky is replaced, or when an item is introduced that wasn’t there originally, or when a person is removed, or when another person is introduced from elsewhere, or when the order in which people appear is changed?  All varying degrees of change, some acceptable maybe, some unacceptable, definitely.


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