Epistemic honesty and the default assumption that photos are true

Scott Fosdick, Shahira Fahmy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Most magazine editors rely on readers to assume that a photo has not been significantly altered unless labeled otherwise. That reliance helps continue the longstanding fallacy that there is such a thing as a pre-alteration state of photography that is natural and truthful. This article sees a need for epistemic honesty, information added to help the receiver judge the truth or accuracy of a piece of communication. It looks to verbal language and the quotation as models for the honest presentation of samples of reality. The result is a recommendation for a visual equivalent to the quotation mark to alert the reader that a photo meets a certain standard of truthfulness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number87
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences


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