Oct 11, 2012


Manipulated Photography
Before Photoshop

Met Museum
October 11, 2012 - January 27, 2013

"Anything you can do,
I can do better
I can do anything
Better than you

"Anything You Can Do...I can do better"  was the song that came into my head,  as I walked around Faking It. There are over 200 photographs in the exhibition, created prior to 1990. The cut off year 1990 relates to the year  Adobe Photoshop 1.0 was distributed.  Whether adding clouds, removing mountains, turning black and white into color or transforming a single portrait into a group shot, these photographs enhance, change or distort reality.
The exhibition is demanding.  I prefer to look not read when I go to a show, but this is one case where the text adds to the enjoyment and understanding of the visual.  The text explains the technique used to create the illusion.  A man seemingly flies out of a window, but the reality is a group of individuals are waiting under the window to catch him.  The show is full of these "before"and "after".
A viewer of this photograph, exclaimed, "How did you ever get all these individuals together?"  We know better.  I am a guilt-free user of Photoshop.  I tread  lightly with the "truth".   These photographers threw down the gauntlet and Photoshop answered.  

The camera never lies was always fiction. I accept not knowing whether the sky is really that blue, a face is devoid of wrinkles, a garden so green.  It's the new normal, as desirable as the new iPhone.



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"How did you anytime get all these individuals together?" We apperceive better. I am a guilt-free user of Photoshop. I footstep agilely with the "truth".

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The strangest figure that meets us in the annals of Oriental thought is that of Confucius. To the popular mind he is the founder of a religion, and yet he has nothing in common with the great religious teachers of the East. We think of Siddartha, the founder of Buddhism, as the very impersonation of romantic asceticism, enthusiastic self-sacrifice, and faith in the things that are invisible. Zoroaster is the friend of God, talking face to face with the Almighty, and drinking wisdom and knowledge from the lips of Omniscience. Mohammed is represented as snatched up into heaven, where he receives the Divine communication which he is bidden to propagate with fire and sword throughout the world. These great teachers lived in an atmosphere of the supernatural.

Confucius, "The Analects of Confucius", i.1

Color Clipping Ltd. said...

and the digital age, photographers used film and darkroom techniques to alter their images. These days, it's much easier to alter photos with the help of computer software. And while there are many legitimate uses for manipulating photography, such as adjusting color or removing blemishes, this practice can also be used in unethical ways.

Faking it is an all-too-common occurrence in today’s digital world – from magazine covers featuring models who have been Photoshopped beyond recognition to advertisements using special effects that don't really exist. Not only does this create unrealistic expectations for viewers of these images; it also sends a message that deceptive practices are acceptable and even encouraged.

At its core, modifying a photograph without clearly indicating what has been changed is simply lying. When someone chooses to manipulate an image they should make sure to include information on how the photo was altered so people know what they are seeing isn’t real. This allows viewers to make more informed decisions about their understanding of reality versus fiction and encourages honesty in media production overall.

By making sure people know when an image has been manipulated we can help promote truthfulness instead of creating false expectations about what is achievable in reality or glamorizing ideas that may not be beneficial for society as a whole.

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William Thomas said...

Before Photoshop, people had few options for manipulating photographs. They would use darkroom techniques such as burning, dodging, or airbrushing to alter prints, or other physical methods like double exposure. It was much harder for the average person to create these effects, and much more time consuming. Now that Photoshop has been introduced, it is much easier to manipulate photos and produce realistic effects.
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