"Authentic" vs "Fake" Photography: What Is the Real Difference?

Here's a thought-provoking video from Adam Karnacz of First Man Photography: is your photography fake or authentic? The crux of Karnacz' argument is that when you over-edit an image, it can sap it of its authenticity, making it nothing more than a manipulated photo illustration, not a photographic representation of a real scene.

"How can we improve our photography and remain authentic?" Karnacz asks. "In today’s video we take a philosophical look at how authenticity is important in both life and photography. We discuss AI software, fake photography and how we should look inward to start creating photography that will resonate with people."

The discussion or "rant," as Karnacz calls it, is particularly timely with the advent of so much powerful photo software, such as Adobe's just announced Photoshop 2021, which features an array of tools for manipulating the reality of a scene, including sky replacements and neural filters for processing portraits to the point of making people unecognizable

"There's so much B.S. around that we don't know what or who we can believe anymore," he says. "It feels like we've almost gotten to the point where being fake and deceiving people is deemed to be acceptable."

Karnacz's argument wanders around a bit from photography to social media to life but we think it's worth it for photographers to hear him out.

"When I've talked like this before, people have accused me of being a purist and I'm not," he notes. "I don't believe everything has to be captured perfectly in camera. AI is generally interesting and exciting technology anyway, but I just don't want the human story being taken out of the art."

Whether you're photography "purist" or someone who thinks using software to manipulate an image is perfectly ok, you should find something interesting in what he has to say below.