This picture says a lot.
I think most people realize that Photoshop is a real thing consistently utilized by magazines and advertisement companies. While I don’t feel like going into the ethics of Photoshop, why do they do it?
Because beauty sells.
“Whether or not a person is aware of the possibility of image alterations, not everyone realizes exactly HOW MUCH these images are changed to fit some seriously un-human and unrealistic ideals that we view over and over. And not everyone understands that it isn’t just fashion magazine covers that feature drastically Photoshopped images. It’s TV. It’s video. It’s your favorite brand online. It’s everywhere.” – Beauty Redefined
People like pretty, they like sexy. An attractive person is more likely to sell a product or catch someone’s attention than an unattractive one.
And it’s a global phenomenon.
This article from Buzzfeed shows the same picture of a woman altered drastically based on location. A freelance writer sent the same picture of herself around the world and told editors to make her look beautiful. The results are stunning because every picture is Photoshopped differently. This shows that standards of beauty are very relative.
(Clicking on each photo will reveal which country it is from.)
So what are the outcomes?
It makes media hard to trust.
“It’s hard to believe anyone’s “personal best” is a fake representation of herself. They’ll plaster “body confidence!” all over the magazine and quote Kelly talking about her own real body confidence, but they refuse to show us her actual body.”
Beauty Redefined shared this about Kelly Clarkson and her cover of Self magazine which celebrated her weight loss. Except, the cover photo was extremely Photoshopped.
How can we know what we are looking at is the real thing? It’s not like pictures have a disclaimer stating that that it has been altered.
While issues with body image come into play with magazines and ads, some would argue Photoshop is just art. If the person in the picture is okay with it, what is the big deal?
But I digress, I could go on forever about the conflict.
What about Photoshopping real news though?
“If a photo is worth a thousand words, then a doctored photo is worth a million. In this age of Photoshop, nothing is sacred ground, not even reporters’ mug shots at the paper of record.” – The Guardian
Here is an example where people and obstacles are added to and taken away from a photograph. The top photo is the final copy and this was taken by a man working for the Los Angeles Times.
It’s an intriguing topic and there are many ethical dillemas involved.
I think advertisement is one thing, but real news and facts that people need to know are another. If we can’t even trust a photograph how can we trust the news itself?
Things to think about.