When does digital manipulation cross the line?
Yet another commentary cropped up last week lamenting the overuse of digital editing (or image manipulation) software (often just simply referred to as "Photoshop") in, specifically, advertising photography. Over the years, the industry's been taken to task over everything from laughingly bad technique (poor Demi Moore's 0 for 2) to contributing to unreal expectations for womens' bodies. More recently there have been calls for more regulation and even a ratings system to warn the public about the amount of image manipulation used.
But, if you're not shooting fashion, lifestyle, commercial, etc. do you get a free pass to wave the magic Photoshop wand over everything you shoot? What's difference does the heavy-handed use of HDR make? Where do we draw the line in our work between the just right and over the top? Actual digital artists aside, is it just lack of training or craft that's supporting the DIIC (Do It In Computer) movement? Possibly, the industry has created it's own vicious cycle in creating images that are so buffed and polished to perfection that the average person actually believes everything can and should look like that.
So, if the question is, how can anything be original or creative when everything is uniform then we, as photographers and image enthusiasts, have a part in deciding that by our use (or overuse) of the tools at hand. Without abandoning any of the image editing software or techniques, we can at least keep in mind that they're one in a series of tools and influential ones at that.
Keywords: over-editing, bad advertising, photography, image editing, photoshop abuse, photographer's tools, advertising photography, artificial reality, image manipulation
You can manipulate to your heart's content, AS LONG AS IT IS NOT REPRESENTED AS REAL. Probably should be a disclaimer like on side mirrors (person is bigger than portrayed!)
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