Friday, December 12, 2014

The dubious fitness of photographic evidence

Forensically Fit presents this interesting article on photographic evidence.

"For decades the admission of imagery as exhibits has been practically rote.

Within the last 10 years the accession and propagation of digital, optical, and color sciences has generated more informed and exhaustive analysis of visual artifacts, but those disciplines are yet in their infancy within the legal industry.

The chilling component of these developments is that each of the underlying sciences are monstrously complex and esoteric. The stimulant is that there are prodigious advantages available for early adopters.

Vision is our dominant sense, but human vision and cognition are wildly variable-even in a specific individual at barely distinguishable moments in time. Since we don't intimately participate in each other's visual experiences we only presume common conclusions, but that is a preposterous expectation.

No less problematic is the eminently clever but wholly synthetic production of digital imagery. The apparatuses and conventions of the digital realm do not replicate human visual experiences: they simply attempt to produce believable artifacts. In honoring digital protocols, images are systematized and manipulated in ways that devastate the actual scene to accommodate computational restraints, even to the point of discarding color, luminance, and spatial information generalized to be below a threshold noticeable by a "Standard Observer."

They are illusory.

Because we are not typically trained to recognize its various corruptions and liabilities, we habitually accept imagery as definite and proper. Because of the incredible complexity and technical depth of imagery's underlying sciences, we honor an overwhelming sentiment to ignore those issues and simply consume whatever makes the fewest and lightest demands on our reasoning.

All of those predispositions are profoundly counterproductive and contrary to our appetite for justice and fidelity."

Continue reading the article by clicking here.

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