More Photoshopping in editorial photography
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."
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
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.
Last edited by Diapositivo; 07-27-2012 at 12:54 PM. Click to view previous post history.
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.
Then there's this opposite trend...
Rihanna looks great any way she's served!
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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.
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.
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 blansky; 07-27-2012 at 07:16 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.
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.
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.