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.
What if all advertising photos came with a number that revealed the degree to which they were Photoshopped? We might not be very far off, especially with recent advertising controversies and efforts to get “anti-Photoshop laws” passed. Researchers Hany Farid and Eric Kee at Dartmouth have developed a software tool that detects how much fashion and beauty photos have been altered compared to the original image, grading each photo on a scale of 1-5. The program may eventually be used as a tool for regulation: both publications and models could require that retouchers stay within a certain threshold when editing images.
Venezuelan artist Jesús González Rodríguez has a project called 1/2 that features strange Photoshopped portrait illusions. They each show half a face, but is that face looking to the left or towards the camera? Read more…
A Lancome advertisement featuring Julia Roberts caused a stir back in July after it was banned by the UK for being too “Photoshopped”. Now a couple in the US are trying to bring stricter regulation to the United States. Seth and Eva Matlins, founders of Off Our Chests, have started the Self Esteem Act:
We’re asking for support to pass federal legislation requiring advertising and editorial that’s meaningfully changed the human form through photoshopping or airbrushing to carry “Truth in Advertising” labels. The labels will simply state that the models shown have been altered. No judgments, no morality, just clarity.
[...] Photoshopping, airbrushing, digital manipulation isn’t the issue. The issue is too many look at these images and theink they should look LIKE these images. And they can’t…because they’re not real.
So let’s call a duck a duck and modified picture a modified picture. All we’re asking is that if you do it – you tell us you did.
They’re currently trying to raise 10,000 signatures for the petition, which can be signed here.
Advertising photographer Paul Ripke‘s project “Man Babies” features portraits of parents with their children… with their heads swapped. Ripke enlisted the help of two professional Photoshoppin’ friends, and says that the photographs were purely for fun and to test the limits of Photoshop. Read more…
Demos at graphics conferences are often interesting to watch because they offer a sneak peek at technologies that may soon become available to the general public. The video above is a demo for “PatchMatch“, an algorithm developed by researchers at Princeton and Adobe. Although you might be unfamiliar with PatchMatch, you’ve probably heard of its most famous feature: Content Aware Fill. Only a small piece of this amazing technology was introduced in Photoshop CS5, so the amazing image manipulations seen in this demo are likely a sneak peek into what we’ll be seeing in Photoshop CS6.