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Somebody, pinch me

Even though I’m fully aware of what you can to in Photoshop to make someone twenty pounds lighter here and take out  a blemish there, sometimes more than that is done, and with a barrage of media flashed in my face, I admit that everytime I see the cover of a magazine, or a billboard, my first thought is not always, “Well that must be fake.”

Last year in France and the UK, politicians wanted to regulate the use of alterations made with the use of Photoshop. French parliamentarian Valerié Boyer suggested putting  a label on the image.

“Swinson’s proposal doesn’t yet have an enforcement suggestion, but it does have a rating system: images would be rated on a scale of one to four, with one being simple enhancements such as lighting adjustments, and four being major digital surgery such as bulking up Gordon Brown to Rambo-level buffness.” (The Register)

This is not just triggered by the recent fad of brutal reality, it’s all about the kids. A teenage girl sees how thin a celebrity is or  flawless their skin is and by trying attain that is like trying to attain the impossible. Here’s a somewhat mind-blowing video. There is nudity, but don’t be offended. It’s just pixels people.

This is stuff you can do with Photoshop CS3 and CS4, so with CS5 and the content aware tool, are we going to believe anything we’re seeing? Is it fiction photography?  The technology is great, but when covers of the same person in the same year look completely different, design seems to veer into the territority of morality.

Madonna is a pop goddess, so they can’t have ner published looking like the grim reaper.

Scary, huh?

Art is coming into this new genre of re-appropriating. Maybe along with that is he art of digital retouching. There are whole firms with this sole purpose and they have laundry lists of celebrity clients that won’t let a photo be published until they’re personal retoucher has done their nips and tucks.

France is onto something. The legalities are still up in the air, but making a sort of warning label on drastically altered photos would change the world of photography, graphic design, advertising and publishing–or so you would think. But the surgeon general’s warning on cigarettes didn’t eliminate smoking.

Is it art, or just a false reality? Is the real art to be found in the beauty of reality? Personally, I think clone stamping a blemish or erasing some distracting frizzy hairs, is nothing to feel guilty about, but when things are being altered to make people look anatomically questionable, then there is an issue.


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