Vol. 11 No. 2 (2018): Aesthetics of Photography

Photographic Manipulation and Photographic Deception

Zsolt Batori
Budapest Metropolitan University

Published 2018-11-04


  • photography,
  • manipulation,
  • deception,
  • photographic illocutionary acts

How to Cite

Batori, Z. (2018). Photographic Manipulation and Photographic Deception. Aisthesis. Pratiche, Linguaggi E Saperi dell’estetico, 11(2), 35–47. https://doi.org/10.13128/Aisthesis-23863


I consider how photographic image manipulation and deception influence both interpretation and evaluation of photographs. First I distinguish between image manipulation and deception by clarifying that image manipulation does not necessarily lead to deception in terms of forming false beliefs. I also argue that image manipulation is not the only way of using photographs deceptively, and I provide examples for photographic deception that do not rely on image manipulation. Then I examine what role the readability of photographic properties (including if and how they have been manipulated) plays in their interpretation. I introduce the concept of photographic illocutionary acts to account for the interpretation of photographic images, and I argue that the default interpretation of photographs is always based on our knowledge of the specific ontological and epistemic status of photographs in general, and which distinguishes them from non-photographic images. I conclude that our knowledge about the ease and frequency of analogue or digital image manipulation does not alter our default interpretation with which we approach photographs.


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