An image reduced to an almost pure Black and White silhouette of a couple out walking their dogs. But hang on a minute – how many dogs were they actually walking? And were there actually two people walking the dog or dogs?
Can you believe what you see photographically? In the digital era how many of our images really tell the truth? What has been cloned out, or added in? Has cropping an image altered our perception of a scene? And if we were to discuss images of people in advertising or the popular press – how many of those images have had their skin smoothed, their blemishes eradicated, their features enhanced? What is truth and does it matter?
If today’s image was entered in a competition, and amazingly won (which it wouldn’t, but let’s talk hypothetically for a moment). And subsequently it was revealed that every item in it had changed position from the original, and that a second dog had been cloned in (the one dead centre, since you ask), should the image be disqualified?
So, is this image a cheat – a fake? The content of the image you see here came from two images taken about half a minute apart. Overall I took six images. The couple and their one dog were actually on the left of the original image walking leftwards. I moved them to the right of the image so they were walking across it. I lengthened the distance between the couple and their dog. I also borrowed a second image of their dog and cloned him in (yes it’s a him, look closely) so that he was the leading dog pursued by his clone.
So, naturally, this image raises a number of questions. The first is the easy compositional one: is the image improved by the second dog, or would you prefer it with just one dog? Would you flip it horizontally?
The other questions are the ethical issues about constructed images: Are they valid or invalid? Fair or unfair? Justifiable or not? Where do we draw the line? There are some images that are very clearly montages – they are transparent. But the one shown today purports to be real – but it isn’t, it’s an untruth.
What do you think? What’s your opinion? Do make a comment and join what could be an interesting debate. Over to you…