More Photoshopping in editorial photography

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Mainecoonmaniac, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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  2. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Interesting.

    I found this excerpt particularly troublesome (my emphasis added):

    "The demands of celebrities also drive this broader trend toward perfection. Mr. Granger said that he found more photographers are being pressured to produce shots that the actors or actresses like because celebrities then will request the photographer in the future for other magazine covers or for advertising work. That can be critical because editorial work alone is not enough to sustain a career in photography."
     
  3. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Member

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    Reality in photography is not what the camera records, but what the human minds remembers.
    Generations of photographers have used camera movements to "correct perspective" under the wrong assumption that building walls don't converge (they do converge, visually, although the effect is amplified if a wide-angle is used which can make the convergence unnatural. I find total correction of perspective very unnatural).

    By the same token, generations of photographers have used "warming" filters on subjects lit by a blue sky, and which were evidently lit by a blue sky, to remove the blue cast which was truly there and which could be expected to be there.

    Sheep can have a "dirty white" appearance, at least here in Italy the sheep we have (which are different breed from the one depicted) tend to be more "neutral", while other sheep, mainly British, are indeed yellowish (was always puzzled by this difference in colour). It's not important how the sheep looks. It's important how do you want to portray it.

    The rule for photojournalism is that you cannot remove not even some litter on the ground. For "editorial" retouching has always been part of the trade.

    A portrait - generally speaking - cannot do without retouching. In the old times (and possibly in present times) a specific figure, called a spuntinatore in Italian - I don't know the English term - would patiently retouch a portrait for hours or days in order to please the buyer. The portrait might then have been published, who knows, on a magazine.

    I don't think, under this respect and to make an example, that Yousuf Karsh portraits are exempt from retouching, which doesn't take away the authenticity, in my opinion. And why a portrait on a magazine cover should be treated differently, be it a model or a dog?

    If "truthfulness" and lack of manipulation was the imperative ethic, then make-up itself should be possibly more questionable than retouching.

    The right colour of the sheep is the colour the sheep was rendered with, unless that is a scientific publication about that kind of sheep.

    Photography IMO IS manipulation. When the manipulation is not credible or ridiculous, then we just have bad photography, but not something ethically illegitimate, photojournalism case excepted.

    I don't understand how can people buy nocturne pictures of Rome with a full moon not just 10 times bigger than natural, but even in the North sky! Somebody likes rubbish, that's all. Falsifying the wrinkle on a cheek is really nothing in comparison.
     
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  4. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Take a look at this YouTube video. It's a excerpt from "Wet Dreams and False Images". Excessive retouching changes our perception of ourselves, other people and what "beauty" really is.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7Ff_XH1nos
     
  5. CGW

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  6. cepwin

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    I'd be more concerned if this was done to news photography....however I like to see celebrities I like how they are without a lot of retouching. News photography should be to show the viewers what happened...perhaps some cropping but that's it. They mentioned in the second article about the Carnegie Hall building that was torn down...I heard a long discussion about it on the Film Photography Podcast (great podcast) and NYC letting the Carnegie foundation get away with destroying all that history is almost criminal.
     
  7. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    There was a photographer in my town that worked for the Sacramento Bee that got sacked for retouching photos that were published. Photographers are under a lot of pressure to get the "perfect" shot. Just face it, photography is such a competitive field, some photographers leave nothing to chance. With PJ is definitely verboten. But the image consuming public often confuse photojournalism with editorial photography. At times, the lines are blurred. But consuming images that are overly perfect messes up the psyche.
     
  8. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    This is a non issue.

    As long as news photography is not manipulated, and we've seen people fired lately for this, then all is well.

    Historically ALL photography, even news photography was manipulated, but only recently have editors demanded that news photos NOT be.

    All other photography is fair game.

    If you don't want your daughter to have body issues because she can't measure up to a model, you have to explain it to her. Lots of sites have inside coverage of model shoots which show the models as they arrive for the shoot looking fairly ordinary. Or as ordinary as any 1 in 100 million beauty can look.

    People have to be taught that the fashion/beauty/movie industry is selling fantasy. Of course in the US, a vast number of people can't discern the difference between fantasy and reality, but that's another issue.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 27, 2012
  9. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    You're right. As photographers, we're just doing our job pushing the craft further. I did I commercial work, art directors always wanted the perfect image. Consuming very slick images is like eating junk food. It's for our enjoyment, not necessarily our nourishment. We might have to be informed what we eat and watch. Maybe it's not a good idea to make Twinkies a meal nor accept overly retouched pics as reality.
     
  10. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    The picture is 'cute.' I'm very bad at photoshop, I do much better in a darkroom. I'm a analog guy in a digital world.:smile:

    Jeff
     
  11. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Nothing wrong with that. You have more skill and credibility.
     
  12. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Member

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    I think the problem lies in wanting to charge other people/organizations of problems which they are not responsible for.

    Fried potatoes are fine, but they are not the healthiest food if eaten every day. It's not McDonald's fault if some people eat fried potatoes every day. If somebody is overweight, he should begin questioning his own eating habits rather then try to blame somebody else. If you are fat, blame yourself. I eat at McDonald's and are quite slim.

    By the same token, the reality of human species, and lack or abundance of beauty thereof depending on which half of the glass we look at, is something around us for us to see. We don't see the world through magazines, we see it through our eyes.

    If insecure teen-agers don't sleep at night because they have a new spot on their nose, that's not a good reason not to retouch spots on noses. Your spots are entirely yours and your problems with spots, and perceptions thereof, are entirely "yours". Teenagers should face their narcissism without blaming magazines.

    If said insecure teenager gets a wrong perspective of what beauty is after seeing retouched images in magazines, said teenager has a problem looking around himself, and I would advice him to dwell into photography just to learn understanding the world around him with his own eyes first.

    Good old porn films show lots of spots and pimples in every parts of human body and at the same time would teach said insecure teen-ager that absence of spots is not strictly necessary in life :smile:. They would also teach insecure she-teenagers that the very thin kind of woman is normally not very much appreciated by men. Just make a poll among your friends... just look at the magazines they read, not the ones you read :smile:

    I'm frankly astonished myself about how certain young woman which I find personally quite ugly end up having a career as models. Nonetheless, my definition of beauty does not rely on what a sissy fashion designer thinks beauty is (actually in fashion the very skinny kind is practical for a certain uniformity in wearing clothes which therefore do not need retouching on the person, it's an industrial need not even a case of search for a different kind of beauty).

    If your daughter thinks Twiggy had any beauty, just teach her she stinks, and buy her a copy of PlayBoy :smile:. Twiggy just looks good for hospitalization. I remember the posters which were hanging in our classroom in high school. None of the models were underweight by any measure.
     
  13. cepwin

    cepwin Member

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    Diapositivo I have to agree with you. Personally I think models and young actresses are often too skinny and as you said there is a practical (from the industry's point of view) reason for that. Unfortunately young ladies seeing those pictures think that's what one *should* look like. Young ladies should be looking at female athletes to see what a healthy body looks like, not models or actresses. It's sad because being way too skinny is not good for the models/actresses either. With the Olympics going on there is an abundance to examples of what a fit person (male or female) looks like ... that is what they should strive for not Twiggy.
     
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  15. CGW

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    That's nice but your money isn't what's driving the body image business.
     
  16. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    So are you saying that "Thin is in, but Fat is where it is at."? I prefer thin, my girl friend is thin. For me "Thin is in."

    Edit: Reality thin not Photo$hop thin.
     
  17. CGW

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    Funny but Christina Hendricks "Joan" in AMC's "Mad Men," despite much initial panting, didn't launch or sustain a trend for '60s zaftig body types. Although naturally round in all the right places, she was padded out for the role and hasn't apparently been overwhelmed with work outside the series. Thin wins, again.
     
  18. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Member

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    :confused:
     
  19. blansky

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    Fashion models exist on diet coke and cigarettes. They often are so thin they don't have a period. That is just the price they pay. Many have eating disorders.

    Cameras add weight. That is a fact of life. Clothes look better on skinny models. They hang better and they flow better. Therefore models have to be 10 pounds less than they look in the ads. They are also often immature teenagers when they begin modeling so they don't even have women's bodies yet.

    If anything they are as much a victim of the fashion/fantasy world as young girls/women looking at the ads. Oddly most models because of their body types are rather small chested. If girls/women are really trying to emulate them, why do so many women get breast implants so they can look like they're smuggling cantaloupes.

    Marketing of all sorts is merely selling fantasy. If you are stupid enough to buy into it, without understanding it, that is your problem.
     
  20. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    You're absolutely right about people taking responsibility for what one consumes. Marketing and capitalism is supposed to make one feel inadequate. That's what makes some of us strive for the unattainable. It's a matter of choice of what we believe.
     
  21. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Yep, I remember when the Contax RTS first came out. Young guys who had been lusting for Nikon F2's and such suddenly were lusting for the RTS. They'd say it was for the Zeiss lenses, but it was really because the cameras looked so damn sexy in the ads. Most couldn't afford one, but that didn't stop them from fantasizing. I used to drool over the pictures too, though I was actually happy with what I had. Seems so silly now.
     
  22. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    Marketing of all sorts is merely selling fantasy. If you are stupid enough to buy into it, without understanding it, that is your problem.[/QUOTE]


    You're right. The thought that editors bother themselves with such things as ethics is a misnomer, believed only by those who have never worked on a newspaper or magazine. Their job is to sell as many copies of their product as they can, to beat the opposition. If "re-touching" an image will help to do that, then so be it. You could say that so far as the editorial world is concerned, the last shreds of ethics went flying out the window with the arrival of the first edition of Photoshop.

    Any photographer who concerns himself with "ethics" these days will not last long in a profession consumed by celebrity worship. And it is the celebrities themselves, or more often their agents, who decide what pictures and even copy go into a publication. They call the tune, and you will only read what they want you to know.....Any editor who doesn't want to play ball, finds the "celebrity" in question is suddenly "not available" for interview.
     
  23. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    By the way, you forgot to mention heroin.
     
  24. CGW

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    Gee, just get dumped by Lara Stone?
     
  25. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    Yeah. She caught me messing around with Kate Upton.
     
  26. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    You dog, you.


    Surprised you could get between her and that idiot savant, Terry Richardson.