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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Burden of Proof: The Integrity of Digital Images
G.J. McCarthy, Photographer
Paris | TX | USA | Posted: 11:51 AM on 03.12.04
->> Hey all -

Don't know if anyone's brought this up here before, but I figured it would make for a good discussion regardless. First, read the following article by James Colburn in this month's issue of Dirck Halstead's "The Digital Journalist."

http://www.digitaljournalist.org/issue0403/colburn.html

Colburn brings up a really interesting point that affects all of us, from amateur to pro, and sports shooter to newspaper photog. As the vast majority of us complete the transition to an entirely digital workflow, what kinds of safeguards can we take to address the issues brought up by Colburn about a digital file's lack of integrity, at least compared to a physical negative or transparency. Interesting stuff, for sure, and a bit sobering for those of us who shudder at the prospect of having our images used as propaganda by those in power.

Comments ... ?

- g -
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Carleton Q. Hall, Photographer
Washington | DC | USA | Posted: 12:08 PM on 03.12.04
->> PJs went through this last year with:

http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=1570
http://www.sportsshooter.com/message_display.html?tid=1578

Colburn wrote:
"We're screwed folks. If David Hockney's sister if messing with pictures with abandon then nobody is going to believe that any picture is real. The age of the-proof-is-in-the-photo is gone."

Well, with adoption of the relatively new technology of digital imaging, we gotta take the bad with the good. The bad being ability to relativly easily manipulate photos. The good being press workflow speed enhancements.

For now, I don't think that any newspapers will be recalling the digital cameras and replacing them with film. They are trusting their photogs like they trust their writers to be good, honest journalists.
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G.J. McCarthy, Photographer
Paris | TX | USA | Posted: 12:25 PM on 03.12.04
->> Carleton -

I remember those threads and, quickly perusing them once again, I think they didn't really touch on what Colburn is getting at and, moreover, the discussion I'm going for. Those thread's focused on manipulation(s) made by the photographer before publication. What I want to know is, once we move work on the wire and such, time passes and we forget about the image, what kinds of safeguards will we have if the image is later manipulated by other parties, as was the case with the Skoogfors and Light images.

Also, it looks like, as usual, all anyone did was identify the problem over and over again without coming to any decisive conclusions. Not that I think we can and will make any earth-shattering changes today ... it's just something we should prepare ourselves for and discuss.

Hope that makes sense.

- g -
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G.J. McCarthy, Photographer
Paris | TX | USA | Posted: 12:32 PM on 03.12.04
->> and another thing ...

"with adoption of the relatively new technology of digital imaging, we gotta take the bad with the good."

You have to be kidding me. That's so defeatist. You're telling me you'd rather just sit back and watch our work improperly used by others just because of positive "press workflow speed enhancements"? I agree that it's doubtful newspapers and wire services will start recalling everyone's digi-SLR's. I just think we need to start exploring our options to ensure the purity of digital images and, over time, make them as concrete as a negative or transparency.

Here's an idea -- maybe our cameras could tag the image with some sort of code that immediately gets altered or removed if the image is in any way manipulated in Photoshop or the like. Maybe that already exists ... I don't know. Just a thought.

- g -
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Alex Diaz, Photographer
Bradenton | FL | USA | Posted: 12:38 PM on 03.12.04
->> I think that Canon has made an answer to this in their Data Verification Kit (DVK-E1 and DVK-E2)

The data verification kit is available on the 1D, 1Ds and 1DMarkII. A code is given to each image and if someone alters the photo the code will change and the verification system will note that a change was made.
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Bill Ross, Student/Intern, Assistant
Colorado Springs | CO | USA | Posted: 12:54 PM on 03.12.04
->> I wonder where technology will take us? I've thought about this myself but being so 'green' to the technology I never really thought alot about it. I wonder if there will be things like for example: CF cards that you can write to but if you want to erase the image you need a password. The publication issues the cards to their photographers and they have to turn them back in. That would help eliminate the issue from the photographer's end but does nothing to address the editor's end. Complex problem I think. Isn't shooting in RAW a bit safe in that regard? But then again, they all thought the copy protection in DVD movies was pretty good.

I dunno, interesting subject.
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Dave Amorde, Photographer
Lake Forest | CA | USA | Posted: 1:23 PM on 03.12.04
->> As a matter of fact, this very issue is being addressed by the major players in the software industry. For example, the "Longhorn" version of the Microsoft OS is preported to have built in imaging and music controls for both piracy and unauthorized manipulation.
These changes are being driven and funded largely by the music industry, but virtually all creative artists who work with digital media will benefit from the upcoming standards. The hard part will be updating existing stock images to conform to the new standards.
The general idea is that images will be given digital signatures, as well as a specific list of rights, designated by the author, regarding how that image may or may not be copied, resized, or altered by others.
It is not known at this time how much of this will see the light of day when the Microsoft OS is released, but at least we can take some comfort in the knowledge that the software industry is paying attention to the problem.
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Carleton Q. Hall, Photographer
Washington | DC | USA | Posted: 1:46 PM on 03.12.04
->> "'with adoption of the relatively new technology of digital imaging, we gotta take the bad with the good.'

"You have to be kidding me. That's so defeatist. You're telling me you'd rather just sit back and watch our work improperly used by others just because of positive 'press workflow speed enhancements'?"

No, I'm not saying that.

When I wrote that statement, I wasn't thinking of people who manipulate photos like they did Leif Skoogfors'. I was thinking of people like Hockney's sister who had "...just gone mad with the digital camera and computer - move anything about. She doesn't worry about whether it's authentic; she's just making pictures."
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Craig Peterson, Photographer
St. Petersburg | FL | US | Posted: 4:11 PM on 03.12.04
->> Why not go back to film in certain situations? It wouldn't bother me, just dust off the EOS1 and I'm ready to go...
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Wesley R. Bush, Photographer
Smyrna | TN | U.S. | Posted: 4:31 PM on 03.12.04
->> http://www.nppa.org/professional_development/self-training_resources/eadp_r.../
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Al Diaz, Photographer
Miami | Fl | USA | Posted: 11:42 PM on 04.23.04
->> Check out this column by Edward Wasserman that ran in the Miami Herald on April 19.
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/columnists/edward_wasserman/84640...
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Al Diaz, Photographer
Miami | Fl | USA | Posted: 11:54 PM on 04.23.04
->> The digital image is relatively new in this age of technology and has only seen wide use in the last decade.

As in any new scientific, scholarly, mechanical, methology, law or legislation a unique set of issues evolve.

The well publicized cases mentioned in Edward Wasserman’s April 19 column in the Miami Herald involving image-tampering by news agencies identifies the need for new technology. There is a demand to verify the originality of a digital photograph with a signature trail of enhancement or manipulation.

The concept of photos being used as evidence is being addressed by the photography industry today. For example, camera manufacturer Canon recently announced the latest version of its Data Verification Kit, the DVK-E2. The kit is designed to deliver validation of an unmodified original image from a single camera body. This kit is aimed at law enforcement, insurance, news and other such agencies and can detect single bit discrepancy in modification of an image since it was taken.

In reality, this may be the solution for many, including the scientific and law enforcement industry. Due to tight deadlines this would only come into play in the daily newspaper after the photograph has been published.

That is why, as always, we must rely on the ethics of individuals that in turn reflects the credibility of their newspaper.
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Ryan Nieto, Student/Intern
San Diego | CA | | Posted: 1:20 AM on 04.24.04
->> "He suggested that photos have no valid claim to documentary truth. They probably never did, considering the rich history of staged pictures, from Civil War dead to the Iwo Jima flag-raising."

Just for the record the Iwo Jima picture was not staged. The flag was raised a second time because the first one was to small and they wanted it to be replaced with a larger flag.
AP story on it
http://www.ap.org/pages/rosenthal.html
http://www.iwojima.com/raising/raisingb.htm
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 1:08 AM on 04.25.04
->> Regarding the Iwo picture:
http://www.loundy.org/iwo.html
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Al Diaz, Photographer
Miami | Fl | USA | Posted: 11:37 PM on 04.29.04
->> The Miami Herald's Photography staff responds to the April 19 column by Herald contributor Edward Wasserman, A picture is worth 1,000 (truthful?) words.
Here's the link.
http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/opinion/8546450.htm
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Louis Lopez, Photographer
Ontario | CA | USA | Posted: 3:32 AM on 04.30.04
->> Would cropping be considered manipulation, adjusting the exposure? At what point is the line drawn? all cropping and exposure adjustments were always altered/adjusted in the darkroom when printing and now the computer makes that process easier, yet it can change the perspective as to how the scene is interpreted.
What would you consider acceptable practice without being considered manipulation, cloning is obvious, what about dodging and burning? Adjusting the white balance? Adobe CS now has a filter that can alter depth of field.
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Thread Title: Burden of Proof: The Integrity of Digital Images
Thread Started By: G.J. McCarthy
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