Authenticity in photography has been an issue that long predates the ability to digitally edit photos and images, but once Photoshop was released the problem got much worse. For decades now we’ve had to ask ourselves if something was the real deal or if it was photoshopped. While sometimes you can catch a hint that the image editor made a mistake, often times all you had was the question.
And now it looks like there might soon be a definitive way to answer the question.
Kevin Connor, the former vice president of product management for Photoshop, has been working to develop new tools for just this task. He launched a startup in partnership with noted digital image forensics expert Dr. Hany Farid. The new company, Fourandsix, has detection tools in beta right now and is expected to release their first detection apps later this year.
The new app won’t be absolutely foolproof, but Conner does expect it to be an effective addition to any investigator’s toolkit. “There’s a temptation to want to have some magic bullet or magic algorithm that will tell you whether an image is real or not, and we quickly realized that’s just not going to work,” he said. “What you have to do is approach it as a detective and examine all the various clues in the image itself and the file that contains the image.”
P.S. In fact, Photoshop has gotten such a reputation for faking details in images that it’s even been satirized in video’s like this: