A-3. Seven ways FoundView is different from previous labeling systems


1. FoundView was designed not merely around photographers' needs but also around the expectations of the viewers of photographs.

2. FoundView does not distinguish between manipulations performed on a computer and those done in the darkroom. FoundView recognizes that computers and darkrooms are both merely tools and the typical viewer cares far more about what was done to a photograph than about the tools used to do it. Earlier attempts at labeling drew a shaky distinction between images that were manipulated in the darkroom and those that were manipulated on a computer; for more than a decade many photographers reflexively distinguished between traditional, film-based photographs ("Good") and digitally altered images ("Bad"). This differentiation misses the point, which is that a photograph's integrity can be preserved—or compromised—with either technology. For example, a photo's integrity is not affected by removal of a scratch, while it would be compromised by adding a full moon—but either procedure could be done in a traditional darkroom or on a state-of-the-art computer.

3. FoundView embraces digital technology and will be just as relevant after most of the medium of photography has moved in that direction. Previous labeling systems were premised on traditional film-based photography, and their proponents often were branded Luddites or old fogies. FoundView proves that the ethics of image making are timeless, while the tools used to make images can be cutting edge, traditional, or anything in between.

4. When determining which photographs warrant disclosure about manipulation, FoundView avoids such worthlessly vague tests as "Does the manipulation hurt anybody?" or "Is it a news picture?" With FoundView, the test is simple: "Does it look like a single photograph made with a single click of the shutter?" If it does, the viewer will want to know whether it is or isn't one. Period.

5. FoundView divides post-shutter image manipulations into two simple categories: those involving light (tones) and those involving forms and shapes. This easy-to-remember division bypasses complex lists of rules and arbitrary distinctions that few photographers are inclined to agree on.

6. FoundView limits itself to labeling photographs in which forms and shapes are not manipulated after the shutter is clicked. Previous labeling systems relied on those who extensively manipulated images to announce to the viewer what they were doing. This proved unrealistic in cases where the goal was deceiving the viewer into thinking a single-click photograph was being presented.

7. There is no association or supervising body to police the use of FoundView. Photography, like other art forms, has moved away from rigid and hierarchical organizations, and FoundView reflects the reality that ethics do not need a governing body to gain influence and respect.