fauxtography

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fauxtography

Post by JANE DOErell » Fri Aug 15, 2008 12:57 am

I came upon fauxtography for the first time today. It refers to photographs that have been "photoshopped" we might say to represent something that is not true. The example of the word came up in a discussion of Iranian missiles. The Iranians apparently had a picture of three missiles fired at one time and doctored the photograph to include a fourth missile which may or may not have been fired.

This site dates it back to 1996. http://www.wordspy.com/words/fauxtography.asp
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Re: fauxtography

Post by Ken Greenwald » Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:21 am

Jane, A dishonest slight sleight of hand, faux sure!
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Re: fauxtography

Post by p. g. cox » Fri Aug 15, 2008 4:06 am

Jane, I came across that word some time ago and concluded that it was a contrived word that will probably, if not already, become an acceptable new word. In today's computer age one can never be sure of what the eyes see any more.
The site I found it on is: http://snopes.com/
They have a whole section dedicated to this subject and they do a pretty good job of debunking urban myths that circulate around the web.
Ken, faux sure, did you mean sleight of hand?
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Re: fauxtography

Post by Ken Greenwald » Fri Aug 15, 2008 7:12 am

Peter, Thanks. That was a sleight error.
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Re: fauxtography

Post by trolley » Fri Aug 15, 2008 3:30 pm

Nice fox paws.
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Re: fauxtography

Post by Tony Farg » Fri Aug 15, 2008 6:37 pm

Oh Ido like that, Trolley! "OPL" as the phrase appears to go.
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Re: fauxtography

Post by russcable » Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:13 pm

Works well in the blogosphere / in print, but I'm not sure it will catch on verbally...

Why do you keep saying PHOtography?
Not PHOtography, FAUXtography!
You mean pictures of Vietnamese noodle soup?
No you idiot, that's Phởtography!
.... (^_^)
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Re: fauxtography

Post by spiritus » Mon Aug 18, 2008 3:23 am

During a recent social gathering, my wife and I attended, I had a discussion with a so-called, card-carrying-liberal linguist (no, it was not Noam Chomsky). At one point, in the course of our conversation, I was told that the correct spelling of the word, fauxtography, should be the capitalized proper noun, Foxtography. This left-of-center linguist also muttered something about Rudolph Murdock and Faux News. I do not recall the specifics. He was slightly inebriated at the time and I was distracted by my wife, who was standing next to me and whispering into my ear suggestions that we depart and explore the benefits of our newly emptied nest (our youngest offspring had been shipped off to college Monday of that week. Here, you may join me in empathetic and appreciative applause).

But, enough about what brings me joy. I think I have a point to make.

I'm an analog audiophile (not digital or simply audiophile). I revere, collect, and preserve pre-digital music recordings and mid 20th century audio technology. In 1992, I inherited my father's music collection of 2500 plus vinyl records and cassette tapes. My acquisition provided me the privilege of "meeting", so to speak, Charles Johnson. His exceptional talents as a guitarist are evident on the self-produced 1988 album, Guitar Workshop: A Tribute to Otis Redding; All In the Name of Love with Atlantic Starr, 1987, and In London with Al Jarreau, 1984.

Here's the kicker (but not my point...bear with me, that will come shortly). Prior to reading Jane DOWell's post, I did not connect the jazz guitarist Charles Johnson with the conservative blogger and software developer, Charles Foster Johnson. As far as I know, which is about as far as I can throw the average adult reader of this post, according to Wikipedia, the word, fauxtography, was coined by "Charles Foster 'Icarus' Johnson...an American Jazz guitarist, software developer and blogger" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Foster_Johnson).

He coined the term "fauxtography" to describe the publishing of manipulated photographs by news services such as Reuters and the Associated Press.

Jane DOWell's post references The Israel-Lebanon conflict photographs controversies and Adnan Hajj photographs controversy, which are comprehensively discussed on Johnson's highly rated weblog", Little Green Footballs. Fauxtography is explored in a recent New York Times article with a compelling interview of Johnson by Errol Morris, the documentary filmmaker. http://morris.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/08 ... ex.html#13

During his present incarnation, Johnson also coined the terms "idiotarian" (I can appreciate this words' politically non-partisan appropriateness), and promoted the sarcastic use of the phrase, "Religion of Peace", to describe Islam. (Well, nobody is perfect).

Johnson is also one of the conservative bloggers credited for having ousted the faux outer, Dan Rather: "Johnson...gained attention during the 2004 U.S. presidential election... exposing as forgeries several memos purporting to document irregularities in George W. Bush's National Guard service record." --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Foster_Johnson

Here is my point. The word fauxtography is as inauthentic in its word formation and meaning as what it is purported to define and indict, namely; the publishing of manipulated photographs by news services.

On first take, I assumed its word formation to be an example of phono-semantic matching (PSM) or a portmanteau word. Professor Ghil’ad Zuckermann, of the University of Cambridge, first introduced PSM. It is defined as, ”...the entry of a multisourced neologism that preserves both the meaning and the approximate sound of the parallel expression in the source language, using pre-existent words/roots of the target language". The French faux, (pronounced foe, meaning false or fake) and the Greek pho ( meaning light), have similar sounds, however, to my mind, their meanings are profoundly different.

As for fauxtography being a portmanteau word, the definition offered by Merriam-Webster would seem to dispel that.

Portmanteau 1: a word or morpheme whose form and meaning are derived from a blending of two or more distinct forms (as smog from smoke and fog) combining more than one use or quality 2: being a portmanteau word ---"http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/portmanteau
Faux is a distinct word form and -tography is not. I will grant fauxtography is a neologism. Yet, I'm unsure as to what category of neologisms it fits into----political or technological?

The following excerpts are from the earlier mentioned NY Times article by Errol Morris:

"Charles Johnson’s term “fauxtography,” of course, suggests that there is something “true” about photography, at least photography that is not posed or Photoshopped. And in recent years, the mainstream press has embraced this orthodox view. The principle is straightforward. Zero tolerance. Allow no digital manipulation. No posing. If a photographer uses any one of a variety of Photoshop tools, fire him.

It’s not that I disagree with these rules. I don’t, but the development of Photoshop (1) can heighten our awareness of how a photograph can be manipulated, and (2) may inure us to all the other ways in which an image’s relationship to truth can be compromised. It allows the false assumption: if we can just determine that this photograph wasn’t Photoshopped, then it must be “true.” [14] But Photoshop serves as a reminder to us of something that we should have known all along: photographs can deceive.

The presumption behind a photograph is: “Someone saw this.” It is supposedly presenting something that someone saw and wished for someone else to see. What is it that angers us? Charles Johnson has it right. We are angered because we have been the victims of fraud. We have been tricked. In essence, we have been lied to. The problem is not that the photograph has been manipulated, but that we have been manipulated by the photograph. Photoshop is not the culprit. It is the intention to deceive." ----http://morris.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/08 ... ex.html#13

Morris' comments appear to advocate the strict application of ethical standards in photojournalism. I would argue that Errol Morris' use of language and Charles Johnson's neogilism, fauxtography, are all political constructs. Neither, Morris’ article nor Johnson's extensive blogging about fauxtography, give attention to the power and importance of context. An authentic photograph or honest intentions can deceive when presented in juxtapositions to a particular text, speech, image, or context. Even reality can be deceptive. Within the context of war, propaganda and the manipulation of all medias are key components of the warring parties’ arsenal. If it is true, as it has been said, " all politics are local" then it follows, ones location is always political". That speaks to the contexts within which all media are communicated.

Moreover, a photograph can only reference reality and in the very act of taking a photograph, the camera and photographer create a faux reality of the real. Three of the most notable analysis of the implications of this media-manipulated reality are put forth in the following essay and books;

"The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction", a 1936 essay by German cultural critic Walter Benjamin, which has been influential in the fields of cultural studies and media theory.

“Camera Lucida (in French, La Chambre claire)”, is a short book published in 1980 by the French literary critic Roland Bathes.

Perhaps the most insightful writing as regards the subject at hand is, “On Photography", by Susan Sontag. She expresses her views on the corrosive role of photography in affluent mass-media capitalist societies, and refutes the idea that photography is just a sort of note taking. It’s a revealing take on the politics of the local and the locations of the political.

The majority of the music comprising my vinyl record collection are commercially available, having been transferred to digital media. The process removes the pop and crackle characteristic of vinyl recordings. It also provides clarity to vocals and audio depth. I consider digitalized recordings of vinyl records to be fauxcords.

Sometimes a whispered suggestion is a cloaked intention to deceive. Ask Eve.
Think carefully about a photograph and you can hear the drumbeat behind the symphony---Semiotics.

We live in an age in which individual experience is manifested and interpreted by two diametrically opposed catalysts: reality generated by personal beliefs and media generated reality.
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Re: fauxtography

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:45 am

Che, I believe that your last statement, to the effect that nowadays “individual experience is manifested and interpreted by […] reality generated by personal beliefs and media generated reality”, is broadly but not exclusively correct – not exclusively, because our experience also encompasses, and is affected by, other factors, such as our interpersonal relationships with family, friends, colleagues and so forth. In addition, ‘media-generated reality’ is not a homogeneous entity – far from it. Influential it may be, but its influences pull in many different directions, depending on how much attention we are paying to its multiple voices. The extent to which that media-generated reality is opposed or opposite to an individual's personal beliefs depends rather a lot on the individual.

But these quibbles are not the main focus of my response. Rather, my purpose is to posit that this variable individual experience also to a large extent both influences and is influenced by our perceptions of the multiple denotations and connotations of words that Phil White referred to in the ‘Confusables’ thread:
The only reason we can communicate at all is because, like Venn diagrams, the areas and clusters in semantic space that the word "table" occupies for me overlap with the areas and clusters that it occupies for you. The areas which do not overlap vary between each pair of speakers and provide the space for potential misunderstanding. We agree on the meaning of a word at the intersection of my sets of connotations/denotations with your sets of connotations/denotations (to stick with the Venn diagram analogy).
Clearly, how we understand a word also reflects how we understand the larger world, and to that extent these understandings are part of the same continuum.

The practice of politics, philosophy and much artistic endeavour is an expression of our attempts either to bridge or to obfuscate these different understandings; to clarify, or to propagandize. And sometimes both. (At least, that’s how I see it.)

Reverting to the topic of photographic faking that kicked off this thread, on July 23 there was an interesting discussion about it (30’18”) on NPR’s Talk of the Nation. (Click on the link to go to the audio launch page; the same page also shows the original and manipulated photos of the Iranian missile launch.)
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Re: fauxtography

Post by Bobinwales » Tue Aug 19, 2008 9:58 am

Should it not be FOXTALBOTOGRAPHY?
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Re: fauxtography

Post by Ken Greenwald » Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:05 pm

Bob, As Tina Turner might have said, “What do foxtails and botany have to do with it?” (<;)
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Re: fauxtography

Post by spiritus » Thu Aug 21, 2008 6:21 am

Erik_Kowal wrote:Che, I believe that your last statement, to the effect that nowadays “individual experience is manifested and interpreted by […] reality generated by personal beliefs and media generated reality”, is broadly but not exclusively correct – not exclusively, because our experience also encompasses, and is affected by, other factors, such as our interpersonal relationships with family, friends, colleagues and so forth. … ‘media-generated reality’ is not a homogeneous entity …The extent to which that media-generated reality is opposed or opposite to an individual's personal beliefs depends rather a lot on the individual.

But these quibbles are not the main focus of my response.
Erik, as is often the case, your thoughtful and insightful response is appreciated. (Of course, there are exceptions to my appreciation of your responses. This is particularly true in those instances when you apply the famous Kowal choke hold to my throat, all the while demanding that I say, “Uncle”, or be asphyxiated.)

Your ability to endow even your quibbles with a profound gravitas and validity, equal to your "main" focus, is a source of inspiration for me. I would prefer to contemplate at length, a single quibble (or quip) of yours, rather than think twice about the multiple main "fauxcuses" of certain other writers. Moreover, the significance of the "main focus" is highly over-rated. In time and with the inevitable development of a language of wholeness and not fragmentation, we may come to view the quibble as linguistics’ quanta.

As evidenced by your opening assertion, which has been placed in bold text, followed by your quibbles, your comments are interpretations of individual experiences languaged as manifestations of your personal beliefs. My quibbles, compared to the substantial weightiness of yours, are diaphanous and ethereal; nonetheless, I will assert them, because I believe them and consequently they generate my experiences. Here are my quibbles:

Our entire physical environment is the materialization of our beliefs. Our sense of joy, sorrow, health, or illness - all of these are caused by our beliefs. Our beliefs form our reality, our body and its condition, our personal relationships, our environment, and en masse our civilization and world. If none of our beliefs, not just our “fortunate” ones, were materialized, we would never understand on a physical level that our ideas create reality. The conscious mind is meant to direct the flow of our experience through our beliefs. They group through attraction, building up areas of events and circumstances that finally coalesce, so to speak, in matter either as objects - or as events in "time". We make our own reality. There is no other rule.

I believe my quibbles, just like yours, are both broadly and exclusively correct.

As for your main focus, which bears repeating,..:
Rather, my purpose is to posit that this variable individual experience also to a large extent both influences and is influenced by our perceptions of the multiple denotations and connotations of words that Phil White referred to in the ‘Confusables’ thread:
The only reason we can communicate at all is because, like Venn diagrams, the areas and clusters in semantic space that the word "table" occupies for me overlap with the areas and clusters that it occupies for you. The areas which do not overlap vary between each pair of speakers and provide the space for potential misunderstanding. We agree on the meaning of a word at the intersection of my sets of connotations/denotations with your sets of connotations/denotations (to stick with the Venn diagram analogy).
…it would appear that you and Phil White share at least one belief that is a media generated reality.

That said, I would now state my “main” focus. My purpose is to posit that there is no such thing as, “the only reason we can communicate at all”. We can communicate because there is no reason that truly prevents it. The Venn diagram is at most, a poor analogy for human communication, which comprises far more then language. Our beliefs generate and frame our language. It is not "the intersection of my sets of connotations/denotations with your sets of connotations/denotations", which allows us to agree on the meaning of a word. We are agreeing on meaning when providing or provided with evidence supporting our believing.

The "verbing" of language is what occurs when we attempt to talk about interpretations of our individual experiences while manifesting our beliefs. We are always believing and experiencing. Beliefs are reality-generating verbs. Of course, this is only I, believing what is nothing, is.

Side Quibble: Your beliefs about yourself will automatically attract thoughts that are consistent with your ideas.

In regards to the topic of photographic faking that kicked off this thread, on July 23, and in respect to your highly appreciated quibbles and acceptable "main" focus; the following excerpt from a research paper by Michael Shapiro, published in the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, is submitted. If anyone is inclined to read the entire article, we would more then welcome your comments and observations (posted at your convenience, of course).
Media dependency theory predicts that mass media influence on a person's conception of social reality will decrease when a person has personal experience with a phenomenon (Ball-Rokeach & DeFleur, 1976). Although much of the research in media dependency focuses on how the interdependencies between the media and other social systems shape audience relationships with the media (De Fleur & Ball-Rokeach, 1982), the theory also suggests that during individual mental processing people often lack information, which creates ambiguity (Ball-Rokeach & DeFleur, 1976; DeFleur & Ball-Rokeach, 1989). The mass media are influential to the extent that they are able to provide information that resolves this ambiguity.

Perry (1987) argues that a person is less likely to be media dependent when he or she is presented with information about familiar situations than with information about unfamiliar ones because the person lacks experience with the unfamiliar.

FindArticles - Media dependency and perceived reality of fiction and news
Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, Dec, 2004, by Michael A. Shapiro,
T. Makana Chock
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