A-5. How FoundView works: A quick explanation

To guarantee to the viewer that no forms or shapes in a given photograph were manipulated after the shutter was clicked, the photographer or publisher simply attaches the FoundView checkmark to the image or to a group of images. The viewer or reader sees the FV checkmark and trusts that each photograph thus labeled depicts the things that the camera recorded when the shutter was clicked. As the FoundView checkmark becomes more widely used, more members of the viewing public will routinely look for it—even if they know next to nothing about photography. Eventually, viewers accustomed to seeing the FoundView checkmark may question the believability of any realistic-looking photographs that don't have the FV label or a similar disclosure guarantee.

Which images get checkmarked and which don't? Obviously all photographs go through some changes—intentional or otherwise—between the click of the shutter and the final presentation to the viewer. But not all of these changes are equal. Inspired by numerous precedents, FoundView divides these post-shutter photographic manipulations into two simple categories:

1. Those manipulations that involve light (that is, variations in tone—for example, lightening, darkening, color shifts, and increases or decreases in contrast). Every photograph ever made goes through these kinds of changes, whether intentional or not, during the journey from the original scene to the final image. (See E-13.)

Images in this first category usually (though not always) qualify as FoundView.

2. Those manipulations that involve forms and shapes (adding, deleting, reshaping, or moving various things in the picture after the shutter is clicked—for example, pieces of litter, power lines, leopard spots, or people). These kinds of manipulations have become much more prevalent with the advent of digital photography.

Images in this second category NEVER qualify as FoundView, regardless of whether the manipulations were done in a darkroom or on a computer.

If category #2 manipulations never qualify as FoundView, what about the "usually" in category #1? This refers to misleading tonal manipulations (e.g., changing the color of a bird's plumage so that the bird is not recognizable as its own species) or other deceptions relating to content that viewers would find ethically unacceptable (e.g., photographing an animal in a zoo and presenting the image as though it were photographed in the wild). In cases like these, photographers can make a final determination by asking, "Would the typical viewer feel deceived?" If the answer is "Yes," (as it clearly would be in both examples above), the image would not qualify as FoundView. This can usually be the last question asked, not the first, and it only disqualifies from FoundView a relatively small number of category #1 images. It need never be asked about category #2 images, because they can never qualify as FoundView. (See also C-3.)

The FV checkmark can be reproduced at any size and put anywhere that an intended viewer will find it: on the back of a photograph, on its mat or frame, on an accompanying card, at the front of a photographic book or exhibit, or in the caption or credit line of a published image. (See C-9 and C-10.)