Dino A. Brugioni, Father of Fauxtography and Fake Photo Detection

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Dino A. Brugioni's 1999 book, Photo Fakery, continues to lead the pack as the best on the topic of forensic photography and the history of doctored photo detection.

The father of exposing fake photos, Dino A. Brugioni, is not a blogger.

Amazon.com describes him as CIA’s original “expert on photo fakery” who started their “National Photographic Interpretation Center.”

In his book, “Photo Fakery: The History and Techniques of Photographic Deception and Manipulation,” Brugioni writes about his involvement in the CIA and the techniques they used for debunking political photos around the world for national security.

Upon reading this book, you will find that many historical examples of doctored photos published by bloggers and circulating the web are lifted directly from Brugioni’s book, but give him no credit.

Although his “exploitation of U-2, SR-71, and satellite imagery” and analysis of “World War II aerial photography taken of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp” are historical and not techniques average people can use, Brugioni provides the necessary context and explanations of how experts use a variety of approaches to examine a questionable photograph that still apply today.

He writes, “The detector will be looking for false facts.  The clever faker requires considerable knowledge, for many times experts from a variety of disciplines have been brought in to challenge the authenticity of a photograph.  These might include photo interpreters, photogrammetrists, chemical analysts, paper analysts, subjective experts, and technologists.  Each discipline has a variety of techniques of authentication.” In other words, it is not just about Photoshop analysis, then or now.

Despite many books that have followed, Brugioni’s 1999 publication, I believe, remains the best on the topic of pre-digital forensic photography. It is a “must read” for anyone interested in both the methods and the history of debunking photos.

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Dino A. Brugioni, Father of Fauxtography and Fake Photo Detection

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