The New York Times has an interesting write-up on photo forensics software created by Dartmouth professor Hany Farid.
The software reverse engineers photographs to show what they originally looked like in order to demonstrate what manipulation was applied to them.
Via the New York Times:
Dr. Farid and Eric Kee, a Ph.D. student in computer science at Dartmouth, are proposing a software tool for measuring how much fashion and beauty photos have been altered, a 1-to-5 scale that distinguishes the infinitesimal from the fantastic. Their research is being published this week in a scholarly journal, The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Their work is intended as a technological step to address concerns about the prevalence of highly idealized and digitally edited images in advertising and fashion magazines. Such images, research suggests, contribute to eating disorders and anxiety about body types, especially among young women.
The United States and various Europe countries have organizations proposing legislation that manipulated photographs come with a label that informs viewers just how much a photograph has been doctored.
For example, a proposed “Self-Esteem Act" in the United States states, "We’re asking for support to pass federal legislation requiring advertising and editorial that’s meaningfully changed the human form through photoshopping or airbrushing to carry "Truth in Advertising" labels. The labels will simply state that the models shown have been altered. No judgments, no morality, just transparency and clarity."
In June, the American Medical Association adopted a policy to discourage advertisers from altering “photographs in a manner that could promote unrealistic expectations of appropriate body image.”
Image: Before and After Photographs from Hany Farid’s work. Via the Dartmouth Computer Science Department.