Readings 11: Photography and Lying

29 07 2011

“Picturing Texts” – I think it is acceptable for universities to edit photos to make their campuses seem more diverse.  On a brochure, website, etc. it is the school’s depiction of “This is how great our campus could look.”  So even if it’s falsified, it is an honest attempt to encourage diversity.  Suppose Ramapo had plans to build a new library and wanted to include, on a brochure, a CGI version of what the library would look like when it was finished.  To potential students, it would be an accurate portrayal of how the school would look in the future, perhaps when they would attend it.  This would be a different story if Ramapo just photoshopped an extra library in with no intentions of building it.  If the school intends on attracting a more diverse group of incoming students, then I don’t see a problem with advertising what the campus could potentially look like.

“I was there. Just ask Photoshop” – In the article, there is a daughter who had no pictures with her father so she had one created; subsequently, the photo means a lot to her.  I think her story is a great example of how photoshopping a person into a picture can be tasteful and add meaning.  To me, it’s conditional; it really depends on the intent of the creator.

Picture Perfect – It’s true that we’ve created an impossible standard of beauty.  The ideal body is outside of human range.  As a result, young girls are idolizing anorexics; boys are looking up to larger-than-life body-builders, many of whom are using drugs to achieve such monstrous size.  I think it discourages people who are trying to live healthier lifestyles and contributes to the obesity epidemic in the United States.  We spend ~30 billion dollars a year on diet and exercise products, but continue to get fatter as a nation.  I personally have had a lot of self-image issues, but more recently have been able to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  I highly recommend the free e-book Brain Over Brawn, (or the paperback edition if you’re willing to pay for it.)  Everyone I know who has read it in its entirety has made an incredible transformation.  I have suggested it to everyone who has ever asked me for any sort of fitness advice; those who read it begin happier healthier lives, those who don’t continue to live happy, but unhealthier lives.  It’s about 90 pages and covers every basic aspect of fitness in an easy-to-read manner.  It’s absolutely free.  It explains everything. EVERYTHING.  Please, someone read it, it would legitimately mean a lot to me.  Everyone looks for that ‘magic pill’ that ensures health, beauty, and youth; this is that pill if you can just somehow force yourself to read through it.

France Mulls Health Warning for Fashion Photos – This would be a fantastic law if put into motion and I wish the United States would follow a similar path (though unlikely.)  I don’t think it would have an immediate effect, but it’s a step in the right direction.  Ideally, advertisers would be prohibited completely from displaying these impossible physiques in public, but I’m 100% on-board for any sort of law that brings awareness to the problematic nature of these ads.

Adbusting Britney – Very clever!  I really enjoy the creativity of graffiti artists and this is a great example.  It’s funny, original, and  great social commentary.

Photoshop Forensics: Victoria’s Secret – Not only are they bad at photoshop, but they’re racist, too.  I can’t believe they actually adjusted her skin tone.  It demonstrates to me that their company advocates the notion that white skin is more beautiful than any other.  Maybe it appeals more to their target audience (?), but it is blatantly racist.

No boo boos or cow licks – This was actually used in my high school senior portrait.  As far as history will ever tell, everyone in my graduating class was acne, pimple, and scar-free.  It does, though, encourage the idea to younger kids that looking a certain way isn’t acceptable.  There are burn victims, amputees, and other people out there who have faced catastrophic/permanent injury; it doesn’t make them less human or less beautiful.

The Photoshop Effect – The video demonstrated exactly how much re-touching goes into a single photoshop.  It reminded me of an X-Men ad that featured Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.  They photoshopped his muscle size, definition, etc. to the point that they accidentally added a muscle on his shoulder that doesn’t exist.  The ‘impossible standard’ is legitimately impossible.  The photo editor in the video claims that with perfect diet and exercise, a person could come close to looking like the ideal magazine model; but I believe that too is an overstatement.





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