What is Fauxtography? 3 Things to Learn From It

Fauxtography is a term that is increasingly becoming a buzzword in the photography communities worldwide. Despite the criticism, it garners from several sections of the photography industry that no one can deny. Instead of opposing this section of professionals, we can learn a lot from them.

Some of the things that Fauxtography can teach us:

1. Self-Promotion

Fauxtography can get you an incredible amount of attention, online and in real life. Irrespective of your opinion about their choice of photography style, Fauxtographers can definitely teach you everything you need to know about promoting and establishing yourself as a brand. 

2. Own the Online Audience

Another important thing that Fauxtography professionals can teach us is the best and most efficient way to keep the audience and followers engaged in social media. By using various apps and launching surveys and polls for the audience, a person involved in Fauxtography knows how to capture and maintain a loyal following.

3. Trying New Trends

Making Fauxtography as part of your portfolio will open you up to new trends and styles. You will learn to adapt to the job this will make your photography career versatile and diverse. Keeping updated with the latest trends in altered imaging is a must-have skill for professional photographers today.

However, there is a portion of professional photographers who believe that today’s digital photography technique is unlike original photography using film rolls. This is how it came to be labeled as faux (fake) photography.

The argument is that photographs captured with DSLR cameras almost inevitably have to be improved using image-editing software, such as Photoshop or more advanced digital image altering tools. This is what is termed as “Fauxtography” because it is unlike the original film-roll photography technique which does not involve digital manipulation.

What is Fauxtography?

Fauxtography refers to the way photographs are manipulated using digital image editing tools or other means in an effort to convey a fraudulent image of the subject captured in the photograph. 

Fauxtography has become notorious ever since its manipulative and promotion powers were discovered by propagandists. 

In addition, Fauxtography has also become an internet meme as the term is also used for amateurish photographs captured by rookies and hobbyists. 

When Did Fauxtography Originate?

Fauxtography is thought to have originated or labeled such back in 2006, when freelance photo-journalist Adnan Hajj presented an altered photograph of an alleged Israeli raid in Beirut, Lebanon. Once Reuters printed the photograph, it quickly spread worldwide on news websites and social media platforms. 

When did Fauxtography originate
When did Fauxtography originate

However, the faux pass was discovered when someone pointed out the glaring alterations, including the dark cloud of billowing smoke from the alleged attack and other anomalies in the photograph. 

This caused a heated global debate about how dangerous Fauxtography can be when misused by journalists because the audience’s trust is on the line. A manipulated photograph is used to misrepresent facts and has undue influence on the unsuspecting audience. 

Is Fauxtography good or bad?

If we are to go by the definition of Fauxtography, then the photographs you click daily on your smartphones come under the category too. Earlier, the image would be altered post-production but today’s camera-phones provide image-altering features on the go. Some of the camera software systems smartphones are so advanced that they can alter and improve the image remarkably.

For example, Huawei’s Master AI is designed to make the ground look more lush and green, the sky too blue and makes anyone always look fabulous. There’s also Google’s Night Sight, which can brighten the image so much that night-time pictures look like they were shot in the bright daylight. 

For a long time, there was a clear distinction between “authentic” photography and Fauxtography. The shots straight out of camera (SOOC) were distinctly different than digitally altered photographs, such as when the photographer/editor adds after-effects, like filters, vignettes, inserting objects, etc. 

However, as smartphones are doing all this and more with every advance in phone camera technology, the line between capturing pure images and altered photography has been blurred now. 

Plus, the cost of conventional film photography has become prohibited, thanks to the increase in prices of film rolls and developing equipment. 

Conclusion

It is our opinion that beautification filters in camera phones are unavoidable. This is because not everyone is a professional photographer. However, the way smartphone cameras can capture and improve even the most mundane photographs allow anyone to capture professional-quality images anytime and anywhere. Remember, how Auto-Tune was derided in the beginning but has now become an essential part of studio recordings around the world?

When used with restraint and understanding, Fauxtography can play a constructive role in our daily digital lives too. This is simply the reaction we witness every time an improvement or alteration of conventional technology is introduced in the market. 

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