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Photoshop

“Again, one must remember that what we see in the tabloid is not the work of photographers…  Montages and obvious retouching of photographs are not unusual.”

This has never been more true than now with the creation of Photoshop.  The photo I attached represents the way that an ordinary person can easily be shown in a more glamorous way with some basic retouching.  But the retouching in this picture that I did is so minor compared to other examples in the media.  In many cases, Photoshop is used to remove elements altogether or make a person look dramatically different from what they really look like.

One example that comes to mind is the too-tan model in recent H&M advertisements.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/tan-model-hm-ad_n_1503662.html  She is so tanned, in fact, that it got some doctors concerned about its promotion of tanning beds and the so called “tanorexics.”  For most of us, I think we can see that she’s been at least somewhat artificially tanned through Photoshop, but that’s not the case for everyone.  What Becker suggests is that the changes made to photographs no longer present any sense of reality.  Although this example is in advertising rather than news, if people view them as truths, there could be some dangerous consequences.

Erica

I am a Communication and Media Technology student. My goal is to advance my understanding of communication, especially as it relates to marketing and organizations. I am quite happy working for my department at RIT and we'll see where the future takes me! I am passionate about graphic design and hope to have opportunities to build on these skills. My family consists of my husband (a soon-to-be brewmaster) and my silly labradoodle!

Comments

Claire
Reply

I like that you highlighted a different aspect of the negative effects of airbrushing in advertisements, other than the unrealistic portrayals of body image and weight. Portraying a person so overly tanned is just as unhealthy and promotes extremely unhealthy behavior like using indoor tanning beds. This is something I’ve noticed more since moving to Rochester where tanning salons are much more common and are advertised everywhere.

Will
Reply

Claire, where are you from? I’ve spent most of my life in NY, so the amount of tanning salons around here is what I’d expect in most other states.

Erica, you wrote, “Although this example is in advertising rather than news, if people view them as truths, there could be some dangerous consequences.” I think we’re already at that point. If we look around us, at the real people, real skin textures, real body types, and real lighting, we see reality. However, to a certain extent, we must be comparing our reality to that augmented reality that we see everywhere via mass media.

There are so many industries relying on those comparisons, the diet industry, make up, plastic surgery, fashion, athletics, advertising, pharmaceuticals, department stores, etc. I think the majority of the problem is that the changes made to these edited images are subtle enough that society continues to perceive them as real (our eyes don’t lie, we can tell when something isn’t real, right?). People see these edited states as attainable and work to become the retoucher’s idea of the perfect human. When is it time as a society to say, enough?

Keith
Reply

Nice representation of a before and after, or even just a celebrity tabloid image doll-up. In the words of Canon and Andre Agassi “Image is everything”. As we discussed in class, none of us will ever look “perfect”, but some will stop at nothing to get as close to their own idea of perfect as possible.

Benjamin
Reply

I feel like we are moving in the right direction with as far as society’s perception of beautiful. More and more I see campaigns stop people from feeling like they need to be perfect, this is especially aimed at young girls it seems. there are a lot of fashion companies that are based around the idea that your imperfections are what makes you unique.

Andi
Reply

I like the direction you went with this post. “Tanorexia” is becoming more common as we speak, and images like this are distorting reality and making people desire this level of beauty. Photoshop can make someone perfect, but then the photograph is no longer real. The link you provided was great as well!

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