Researchers in the US have come up with a 5-step rating system that could be used to let people know the extent to which any image has been digitally altered. The project, set up by Hany Farid and Eric Kee at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, aims to inform people as to whether an image has just been touched up, or has been massively altered.
Farid has prepared a before and after comparison system to show how images are massively altered, sometimes with just a few small changes here and there. Some images just receive a tiny touching up in a few key places, but even this relatively minor work can create false impressions of the subject. And some images are altered to such an extent that it’s hard to relate them back to the original.
Politicians and campaigners in both the UK and the US have called for a rethink regarding the way in which unrealistic images are portrayed in the media. Others, however, say that this is a losing battle, and that the only people who will pay any attention to a rating system are those who would be less likely to be influenced in the first place.