In the age of digital photography, it’s become increasingly easy to modify, process or manipulate the content of an image, and increasingly harder to sort truth from fiction.
In 2009, under the impulsion of the French Ministry of Defense, the computer science technologies company eXo maKina developed Tungstene, a program that can reveal changes made to a digital file. Just a few weeks after World Press Photo, the world’s leading photojournalism competition, was forced to disqualify 20% of final entries because of excessive manipulation, Roger Cozien, the man behind Tungstène, discusses the relevance of truth in photography in an interview first published in French in OAI13 and republished here for the first time in English.
Nathalie Hof: What is Tungstène, and why did you develop it?
Roger Cozien: First of all, there are a few elements I would like to clarify: within the company eXo maKina, we never use the term “editing”. This word means nothing and everything at the same time. Everybody uses it and in fact, when using Tungstène, this is not what we expect to detect. We talk about “alteration” and “manipulation”. And when we notice an underlying intention to mislead, we talk about “falsification” or “intrusion”. We prefer those terms to straightaway specify that we are not at all in the aesthetic field.