The New York Times has an interesting article examining how retouching has spread beyond fashion and advertising photos into editorial photography, conditioning the public to accept images that are “heightened versions of the truth”. One reason is pressure from celebrity subjects:
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.
Ms. Greenberg said that in 2002 she shot Tom Cruise when he was wearing braces. She used Photoshop to remove the braces before submitting the photographs but the magazine asked her to put the braces back in.
“I was sad because I was like ‘now Tom Cruise is going to hate me,’ ” she said. Ms. Greenberg has not shot Mr. Cruise since then.
German photographer Falk Lumo has an interesting post on his blog regarding full frame and crop sensors. His theory is that camera manufacturers have created an artificial barrier between the two sensor sizes for business reasons, and that we’ll soon be seeing big changes in the camera world as this barrier disappears:
[...] there is an artificial separation between the APS-C and full frame markets. Artificial because less people still believe that full frame must be expensive. And artificial because image qualities beyond an effective resolution of 20 MP may simply require full frame. The new offers from Nikon (D800 and D600) therefore directly address this and may accelerate the disappearance of the artificial market separation. This is known as “supercriticality”: the market ought to offer uncrippled, full frame enthusiast cameras in the $1,500 segment but offers APS-C cameras instead. Supercritical systems “fall” into their preferred state after only small perturbations occur. Once this happens, a D800 type camera will be in the $1,500 segment.
He predicts that full frame cameras will soon be much more affordable and compact as mirrorless cameras eat into the APS-C market, leaving “cameras with a full frame mount but a half frame sensor” to be “a curiosity of the past.”
It’s common knowledge that models in magazines are Photoshopped to look the way that they do — often to the detriment of the young girls that aspire to have these computer generated figures — but for the most part protests have come in the form of ad campaigns like Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. But in the past couple of weeks, 14-year-old Julia Bluhm decided to take a different approach. Read more…
Snapping a self-portrait of oneself in a mirror is something every photographer has probably done before, but have you ever created one in which there isn’t a camera in the shot? The images look impossible, but they’re not too difficult to create using some careful planning and clever Photoshop trickery. Basically, all you need to do is photograph each arm and your head separately and then stitch the photographs together. Joshua Dunlop over at ExpertPhotography has published a tutorial on the technique.
Here’s an awesome TED lecture in which digital artist Erik Johansson discusses creating realistic “photographs” of impossible scenes.
Erik Johansson creates realistic photos of impossible scenes — capturing ideas, not moments. In this witty how-to, the Photoshop wizard describes the principles he uses to make these fantastical scenarios come to life, while keeping them visually plausible.
The Sacramento Bee has suspended award-winning staff photographer Bryan Patrick after it was discovered that he had Photoshopped two photographs of an egret eating a frog into a single photo. The newspaper, which is the 5th largest in California and the 25th largest in the US, says that the manipulation was done to make the frog more visible while still showing a second bird lunging for it. NPPA president Sean Elliot labeled the case a “betrayal”:
If this photographer in Sacramento can diddle around with a photograph of an egret, how can I know that any photograph I look at is trustworthy? It feels like a betrayal. [...] It violates a feeling of trust I think we have with all of our members.
Filmmaker Jesse Rosten created this satirical commercial for Fotoshop by Adobé with the tagline “This commercial isn’t real, neither are society’s standards of beauty.” It’s a humorous response to how the beauty industry has distorted our society’s perception of beauty through ubiquitous Photoshopping. The video may or may not be work safe, depending on where you work.
News photo agencies EPA, AFP, and Reuters have all issued kill orders for a photo of Kim Jong-il’s funeral procession released by the Korean Central News Agency, the state news agency of North Korea. The photo (above at bottom) raised red flags after a comparison with a Kyodo News photo taken just seconds earlier revealed that a number of people had vanished from the scene. The New York Times writes,
A side-by-side comparison of the full images does point to a possibly banal explanation: totalitarian aesthetics. With the men straggling around the sidelines, a certain martial perfection is lost. Without the men, the tight black bands of the crowd on either side look railroad straight.
Perhaps it was a simple matter of one person gilding the lily.
The US is following the UK’s lead in banning advertisements for having too much digital manipulation. The National Advertising Division, a US watchdog that imposes self-regulation on the ad industry, has banned a CoverGirl mascara ad by Procter & Gamble because Photoshop was used to make the girl’s eyelashes thicker than they were in real life. Even though the enhancement was disclosed in the ad itself, NAD wasn’t satisfied, saying,
You can’t use a photograph to demonstrate how a cosmetic will look after it is applied to a woman’s face and then – in the mice type – have a disclosure that says ‘okay, not really.’
The NAD says that it’s following the lead of its sister body in the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority. Back in June, ASA banned a makeup ad featuring Julia Roberts for being too manipulated.