As long as photography has existed, so too has photo manipulation.
The two are irrevocably entwined and anyone who suggests otherwise is ignorant of the history of Photography…
As long as genuine products have existed, so too have fraudulent products. I prefer real pictures, actual pictures. Not fake fantasies designed to trick the eye.
Then you, Sir, are easily duped. Because you can have both.
In 1855, Roger Fenton produced what is generally considered the first ever “lying photograph.” He was photographing the Crimean War, and decided to move a bunch of cannonballs around to make it look like the actual battle occurred in a more scenic place than it actually did.
Is it a real photo? Absolutely. Is it designed to trick? Absolutely.
The idea that any “unmanipulated” photo is truthful has been wrong since just a few short years after photography came into existence.
Have you ever seen any of Arbus’ contact sheets? She purposely selected the images where her subjects looked the weirdest and most awkward. A lot of the ‘weirdos’ she photographed weren’t even that weird, including the boy with the hand grenade.
She purposely lied to the viewer by misrepresenting the subject, and she didn’t even need to alter her photographs to do it.
When you photograph someone, do you use the images where they look the best, or the ones where they look the same as they do in everyday life? If you use the images where they look the best, then YOU are lying to the viewer too - those people don’t really look that good!
If everybody lies when they take photos, including you, what’s the sense in creating some arbitrary line in the sand that denotes what amount of lying is okay?