Do we get too obsessed by "real"?

Started 3 months ago | Discussions thread
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 8,158
I think distinguishing real and fake is important

You ask: Do we get too obsessed by "real"?

No. I think we are too unaware of what is or is not real, and it's getting worse.

I have no problem at all with obviously "fake" things; for example, I have this very fake image as one of my standard desktop backgrounds:

An older low-res photo I shot that looks better in high res with fake texturing

My problem is with undetectable, but very significant, changes being made to images without indication that the image has been altered. For example, I understand why people want to replace a blown-out white sky with their all-time-favorite sky... but I want to know that's not a literal interpretation of the scene. Cell phones can automatically recognize a person's face and apply all sorts of transformations to it, to the extent that the person appearing in the photo doesn't actually exist, but is a constructed ideal.

Adjustments attempting to more accurately recover the scene appearance are qualitatively different. I'm fine with healing dust spots, color correction, tone mapping, etc. I'm sometimes even ok with removing a stray element from a photo and replacing it with synthesized content -- e.g., removing that pesky tourist discovered later unfortunately positioned in the background of a photo -- although removing elements in general quickly crosses my comfort line where I feel it is necessary to mark the image as modified.

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