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Photography as a Weapon
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2008 14:18:44 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Richard Forno <rforno () infowarrior org>
Date: August 13, 2008 12:52:36 PM EDT
To: Undisclosed-recipients: <>;
Cc: Dave Farber <dave () farber net>
Subject: Photography as a Weapon

Photography as a Weapon

As almost everyone knows by now, various major daily newspaper published, on July 10, a photograph of four Iranian missiles streaking heavenward; then Little Green Footballs (significantly, a blog and not a daily newspaper) provided evidence that the photograph had been faked. Later, many of those same papers published a Whitman’s sampler of retractions and apologies. For me it raised a series of questions about images.[1] Do they provide illustration of a text or an idea of evidence of some underlying reality or both? And if they are evidence, don’t we have to know that the evidence is reliable, that it can be trusted?

Hany Farid, a Dartmouth professor and an expert on digital photography, has published a number of journal articles and a recent Scientific American article on digital photographic fraud. He seemed to be a good person to start with. If a photograph has been tampered with, he’s the person to analyze how the tampering has been done. I wanted to discuss with him the issue of the Iranian photograph starting with the issue of why we trust photographs in the first place.

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