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Photographic manipulation in the health, clinical and biomedical sciences

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Photography has become a pervasive component of contemporary communication. Recent technological advances in creating and manipulating images have provided renewed impetus to decades-long debates on use of photographs in science. With increase in the potential for inappropriate image manipulation, fears about misrepresentation have heightened concern among journal editors and scholars about the 'accuracy' of published images. We discuss how science has responded to growing concerns surrounding falsification and inaccuracy of photography. We document progress in implementing a variety of complementary approaches to addressing the problem. These include digital forensics, photo member checking and the implementation of codes of ethics to enhance the veracity of published photographs in science research. We conclude by acknowledging the irreducible conflict likely to remain between use of the photograph as a creative work of art and employment of this medium as a source of information in the progress of science.
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Keywords: data beatification; distortion; imaging; manipulation; photography; technology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 0000000419368753 New York University 2: 0000000419368438 University of Kentucky

Publication date: April 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Philosophy of Photography is a new peer-reviewed journal devoted to the scholarly understanding of photography. It is not committed to any one notion of photography nor, indeed, to any particular philosophical approach. The purpose of the journal is to provide a forum for debate on theoretical issues arising from the historical, political, cultural, scientific and critical matrix of ideas, practices and techniques that may be said to constitute photography as a multifaceted form. In a contemporary context remarkable for its diversity and rate of change, the conjunction of the terms 'philosophy' and 'photography' in the journal's title is intended to act as a provocation to serious reflection on the ways in which existing and emergent photographic discourses might engage with and inform each other.
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