Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/05/15

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Re: Photoshop dilemma
From: "B. D. Colen" <>
Date: Wed, 15 May 2002 08:57:34 -0400

I sure care - not that that surprises you: not so much that it's a rewrite
of history as that it is a really appalling cheapening of King's legacy.
This is not like using a rock icon's song to sell cars, or the image of Fred
Astair's dancing on the ceiling being used to sell vacuumed cleaners. This
is, rather, using a film clip of the most important speech by the most
prominent leader of the civil rights movement to sell the image of a
corporation. And not only is it taking the speech totally out of context, it
is doing something that we can assume, based on his record, King himself
would never have done, or approved of.

But I have to say that while I am a huge fan of King's - although I believe
that to some degree his role in the movement was overblown - I am no fan of
the King family for the way they have commercialized "the legacy" since his

Martin Luther King, Jr., was and should always remain one of those rare
individuals throughout history whose person, and legacy, belong to "the
people," rather than to his family.

But that's just my opinion.

BUT...if the King thing bothers you, wait until you read what I'm sure will
be the AP pickup - and everyone else's rereporting - of a story that ran in
this a.m.'s Boston Globe. Worried about the photoshop alteration of still
photos? Fagedaboutit! MIT researchers have "taught" a computer to produce
absolutely believable video footage of people saying things they never said.
In other words, they can put words in someone's mouth, show the footage to
test subjects, and have the test subjects unable to tell the real footage
from the doctored footage. At this point they can only do it with footage of
people speaking directly to the camera - as the President does in one of his
addresses ;-) - but they are sure they will be able to improve the
technology to the point where the angle won't matter. What does all this
mean? That in the very near future we will be unable to tell doctored video
from real video, and if footage of, say, a Presidential candidate turns up
with the candidate saying something embarrassing, we will never know whether
it is real, or a "dirty trick."

B. D.

- -----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of George
Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2002 7:42 PM
Subject: RE: [Leica] Re: Photoshop dilemma (Adam Bridge)5/13/0211:47 AM

> Thus cutting Lenin out of an
> image breaks the one for one relationship with the original
photograph. Or
> moving a pyramid. Or adding several images from other sources.
> Once the one-for-one is lost I contend that the final work is
no longer a
> photograph. It's something else: a graphic art perhaps.

Apparently the owners of the Martin Luther King estate have seen
fit to sell his words as well as images of him - for advertising
messages. So we can now seem him making the "famous speech" in a
totally new context and environment and hear the words edited to
new purpose. Personally I see this as a rewrite of history and
without integrity. These rewrites will affect a new generation's
perception of history. Does anyone care? I do. Sad way to make a


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