(Roughly) Daily

Now you see it…

Dartmouth computer science professor Hany Farid is a specialist in image forensics, and leader of  the Image Science Group.  (Readers will recall his “Five Ways to Spot a Fake Photo”).

The advent of Photoshop and its like have certainly accelerated the challenge.  But in “Photo Tampering Through History,” Farid and his troop remind us that it’s never been been wise to trust the evidence of our eyes… at least when the evidence in question is photographic.  The stroll down memory lane begins in  in 1860 (with a famous portrait of a President, in which it turns out Lincoln’s head is on John Calhoun’s body… one of the last times that North and South met peacefully before the War Between the States):

Lincoln (and Calhoun)

There are examples of portraiture, memorial photography, and reportage, from all over the world… there’s even what may be the most famous album cover in history (…yes, the photo that was the cover of Abbey Road was altered).

It’s fascinating– and as we sail into the (even) nast(ier) part of the election cycle, it’s important cautionary reading.

(For those disposed more to practice than to preach, check out “50+ Excellent Body Enhancement Photoshop Tutorials” at DesignReviver…  “making seductive eyes,” “adding (or subtracting) tattoos,” even “removing tan lines”– it’s all there…)

As we clean our glasses on this 9-11, we might recall that it was on this date in 1928 that the first drama ever transmitted on television was broadcast by WGY, General Electric’s station in Schenectady, NY.– a pot-boiler by J. Harley Manners, “The Queen’s Messenger.” Three cameras were used, two for the characters and a third for obtaining images of gestures and appropriate stage props. Two assistant actors displayed their hands before this third camera whenever the occasion demanded.  In the event, technical limitations were so great and viewing screens so small, that only the actor’s individual hands or faces could be seen at one time.

The prescient verdict of the few who could see (as opposed simply to hear) the broadcast was that the day of radio moving pictures was still a long, long way in the future.

The Queen’s Messenger, in production

Washington Post

Washington Post, September 21, 1928

Written by (Roughly) Daily

September 11, 2008 at 1:01 am

Posted in Uncategorized

%d bloggers like this: