Photo Quiz Criticism

Real or Photoshop quizzes are becoming pretty common on the web. Here's another one. My criticism of this one is that it's using the term "photoshop" to refer to any fake photo, including ones that have been staged or falsely captioned. I've noticed this usage becoming increasingly common.

However, if you're going to call falsely captioned photos fake, then you need to at least include the caption. Otherwise, the photos aren't making any claim, true or false. For instance, the quiz includes a photo of a clay model of a diplocaulus that was circulating online back in 2004 (discussed here in the hoax photo database). It's not photoshopped at all, but if you can remember that some people were briefly claiming that it was a real diplocaulus, then you might realize that you're supposed to say the photo is "photoshopped."

Likewise with this photo of a Bush lookalike trying to solve a Rubik's cube, taken by artist Alison Jackson (Here in the HPD.) It's not photoshopped, despite what the quiz claims. But it is misleading. Those are two different things.


Posted on Mon Aug 25, 2008


I agree. First of all, there's no evidence of Photoshop(TM) or any other photo editing software having been used. But more importantly, it's not the photo itself that's false or deceptive here, it's the claim someone is making about the photo.
Posted by Big Gary  on  Mon Aug 25, 2008  at  05:24 PM
Yeah, it specifically says ". . .decide if the image was digitally altered or untouched." So why is a clay model or a look-alike considered to be digitally altered? And it's not even consistent throughout the quiz: there's one photo that it lists as "unaltered" that was clearly staged just as much as the Bush one was.
Posted by Accipiter  on  Mon Aug 25, 2008  at  06:29 PM
the first photo is supposed to be real? I mean, yeah sure the lightning is real but if you ask me the house-thing is a digital rendered buidling, wouldn't that make it photoshopped? :S
Posted by Snowowl  on  Tue Aug 26, 2008  at  03:15 AM
Snowyowl, the 'house-thing' is called an observatory. That's where 'science-dudes' look at those 'Star-thingys', and this is a typical American design similar to Mount Palomar.

And picture 29 is a Talon trans-hypersonic, long range attack fighter form the movie STEALTH . . . Arguably, the plane is the only worthwhile part of the whole thing, except maybe for the North Korea ejection sequence.

I agree that there is a difference between Photoshpped and otherwise digitally adjusted or even simply faked old skool . . .
Posted by DFStuckey  on  Tue Aug 26, 2008  at  03:57 AM
"Photoshopped" is going to enter the lexicon, officially, as any altered image now, I think (I just checked the Oxford English Dictionary--it already has, dating from the early 90s). I agree with Accipiter's comments.
Posted by Charles  on  Tue Aug 26, 2008  at  08:45 AM
Photoshop is a trademark and protected by legislation. AIUI, using a trademark to denote a generic (as in using the term Photoshop/photoshop to denote any form digital photo manipulation) breaches a piece of US legislation (which should have prevented it entering the dictionary as a generic term). As a non-USAnian I can't recall the title of said act of legislation, but I was threatened with it when I referred to a genre of legend known as Xerox-lore. Similarly, Google have objected to their trademark being used as a verb.

I have a whole host of digital artist impressions that I can say hand-on-heart were not Photoshopped. They were created with various photo editors, but nopt with Photoshop(TM).
Posted by Sarah  on  Tue Aug 26, 2008  at  09:22 AM
It doesnt even tell you what you got wrong and why. I prefer to know what I was wrong on and why they are saying I was wrong. A little back story on the images would be nice.
Posted by red_dragon_girl_69  on  Tue Aug 26, 2008  at  09:32 AM
Sarah, too late. Photoshopped/photoshopping--too late. Everyone uses it for this purpose. Everyone uses google to mean a search regardless of the search engine. Official or not, it's there. Kleenex, thermos, vaseline, Q-Tip, in the UK Hoover means vaccum.
Posted by Charles  on  Tue Aug 26, 2008  at  10:01 AM
I don't use google that way. I say "use a search engine." I prefer Yahoo, Alta Vista or Dogpile myself.
Posted by Sakano  on  Tue Aug 26, 2008  at  11:22 AM
I just did 100%
Look at the name of the url on the lower left corner before clicking 😛
Posted by Plexu  on  Tue Aug 26, 2008  at  11:37 AM
DFStuckey, no need to get sarcastic on me, English isn't my mothertongue.
Posted by Snowowl  on  Wed Aug 27, 2008  at  01:17 AM
Apologies to you Snowyowl. The rest of your message seemed to have a good grasp of the language, which I confess is not my original language either.
Posted by DFStuckey  on  Wed Aug 27, 2008  at  06:12 AM
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