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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

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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.

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What Do We Do Now?

“What the mass media offers is not popular art, but entertainment which is intended to be consumed like food, forgotten, and replaced by a new dish.” ~ W.H. Auden in The Dyer’s Hand

“Constantly exposing yourself to popular culture and the mass media will ultimately shape your reality tunnel in ways that are not necessarily conducive to achieving your Soul Purpose and Life Calling. Modern society has generally ‘lost the plot’. Slavishly following its false gods and idols makes no sense in a spiritually aware life.” ~Anthon St. Maarten

What I am hoping to accomplish with this blog is to at least make my readers think. I don’t expect everyone to buy into everything I have said, or even find validity in it. Yet, I hope I at least proved a few points. I hope that people see how mediums are manipulated behind the scenes and that the consumer, as a result, is manipulated as well.

In my third blog post I talked about how the news has been manipulated in the past. It is still happening today.

In my fourth blog post I talked about how reality TV manipulates us and how it is shaping society.

Those are just a few things to think about. There is a lot more information out there that I didn’t even touch on. There is a lot more I could learn and share; it is an endless process. My eyes were really opened by this project alone and the research I did.

If more people were on the right page and more people did their research instead of mindlessly believing everything they are told, we could possibly change the media for the better. If enough people knew what happened behind the scenes in what we consume, I think that would be initiative enough for a change.

But in all, just think. Think before consuming, what exactly is the motive and what is the message?

Have a good day!

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