Whether an image is “too” photoshopped, or overly retouched is a huge issue for both photographers and non-photographers. We’ve talked about it many times on our forum. It’s an issue for photographers because our medium is in the midst of a dramatic change. Photography has gone digital. Everyone has a digital camera. Every image is fodder for manipulation. Many photographers over-manipulate.
The problem is that there is no consensus on how much manipulation is too much. Some photographers say over manipulation occurs with anything over and above basic editing (contrast and tonal control, cropping and some dodging and burning). Others say we are craftsman and that Photoshop is a tool like any other tool, so there is no limit. (Personally I don’t buy this for a second).
Certainly when you look at a photo, you often cannot tell what level of manipulation was done and nowhere is the level of manipulation revealed. Sometimes though, you can EASILY tell when an image is over-retouched or manipulated.
This is less of a big deal when you are creating a photograph for artistic reasons, but it’s damn serious when young girls want to look like models that don’t exist. The models exist of course but their images are over manipulated to the point of fraud. Impressionable girls want to look like these models hawking beauty-cream. They feel bad/sad when they can’t look like these models. Here is just one recent Newsweek article on this over-manipulation (hat tip to AcadieLibre from our forum). If this trend continues, it won’t be long till we’ll be selling anti-wrinkle cream to ten year olds or freckle remover for red headed babies.‚ All it will take is a couple of‚ before and after photos showing the ‘improvement’ in their appearances. Even babies and ten year olds want to feel ‘better’ about themselves.
But people are catching on, they are getting fed up with this manipulation/fraud/cheating. This week in London England, Conservative party leader David Cameron was blasted for a campaign election poster where he looks 20 years younger than he does. Here’s the original poster, a spoof poster and what Cameron looks like on a normal day.
So what say you? Are you fed up with fake photography.….….?‚ Or am I just whining because I have no Elvis hair to style?