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Photo Re-touching, Where do you stand?

thebigyin 12 84 6 United Kingdom
8 Oct 2008 12:53AM
Just watched the very enlitening documentary earlier on BBC1, Alesha: Look But Don't Touch, where Alesha Dixon (Strictly Come Dancing Winner Last Year) on her quest to get on the cover of a womens fashion magazine without any retouching to her face or body.

This led me to wonder as to how far fellow epz members will go to create the 'perfect image', do you agree with it? Or have the media gone too far in portaying the 'perfect face & body'?

I have my own opinions, just wondered what other's thought?


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samfurlong 11 2.5k United Kingdom
8 Oct 2008 8:41AM
For fashion / advertising I really don't care. Sure it would be nice to think that people were happy enough with themselves to just show it how it is but at the end of the day it doesn't really matter.
In the arenas of press / journalism / reportage then anyone found manipulating should be (and people have been) sacked on the spot. It's just wrong and devalues the work of the rest of us.
fauxtography 12 6.6k 36
8 Oct 2008 9:01AM
There are 2 types of ethics going on there Alister. The ethics of photography like Sam mentions i won't even crop my documentary images post capture, unless it is something that I was expecting to have to do while taking the shot, i.e. not got a long enough lens, or wanted the image to be in a different aspect ration than that of the camera.

The other is towards our society and what effect the "hyper reality" of the manipulated image has. Arguably fashion imagery has as much sway and influence as that of reportage/PJ work, so there is a case to be made for it for not manipulating, to portray reality. Unfortunately it is a trend that will continue as magazines like to show pretty images next to their sponsors ads (something that was instrumental in the death of PJ/News stories in news supplements/magazines).

Me? I like a nice healthy dose of reality, which is why i will never be a popular portrait photographer, i find skin texture interesting and i think we are made interesting by our flaws, however, vanity will usually win out.
bonna 11 2 United Kingdom
8 Oct 2008 10:22AM
I've talked about similar things in a few magazines over the past few months and caused quite a stir.

I have a mixed view.. in the sense that personal photography you can and should be able to do whatever you want to one of your photographs.. as long as YOUR happy with the changes and like the final image then thats fine..

However for photo competitions I've alwasy said thereshould be a split between the two.

Natural original photography(untouched)
Modified developed enhanced photography.

And the reason why is because alot of what I see as WINNING photographs in competitions to me in no more that a good user of photoshop rather than a good photogrpher.

But going back to magazines I do feel unfortunately its what people want to see.

as they say sex sells

and you don't see men and women buying magazines and papers with (photographically challenged) people pictured on the front.

Perfect 80 inch long legs and barbie doll plastic skin unfortunately is winning out.

personally I love to see natural photographs and I like to see film stars and singers just the way they are and not retouched.

But I doubt this will ever happen..

My worry is the fact I know this and as a photographer I know when looking at magazines and adverts and papers that most of the time the image is altered and fabricated..

BUT children and other youths don't.

alot of children and young people actually think the people in the magazines are REAL and they really are a size -2 weigh 2 stone, are 7 foot tall and have perfect skin yet still somehow managed to eat and walk around never mind the women having 90 inch perfectly round boobs.

Thats why I worry because of people growing up aspiring to be like this without a good education into media and how it works..

personally I'd love to see education in media and advertising etc a little more in schools early on in their development so they all know its mostly fake images they are seeing.
keithh Plus
13 25.4k 33 Wallis And Futuna
8 Oct 2008 10:26AM
The subject formed the basis for my talk at Focus this year.

What I find sad is that there will be cases in the future, when people look back at photo's of their ancestors and are not looking at a true representation of that person.

and before anybody shouts up - it has gone way beyond anything that was being done on film and now the software and the where with all is available to anybody.
cameracat 13 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
8 Oct 2008 10:27AM
It really depends on the requirement of the end product, Or the dictate of the customer.......Personally I really don't like the overly plastic look, It's just not natural........But Hey ho! We have to take on board what people want.....Too...!
Tooth 12 5.8k 227 Ireland
8 Oct 2008 10:36AM
in the British Dental Journal last year there was a fascinating but ultimately sad article. They took a month of teen magazines from then shelves of a big newsagent, and studied every picture where there was a full face smile. They measured all of these against a standard dental shade guide (that technicians and dentists use to decicde the colour of crowns etc).

The result?? 75% of all the photos were off the bright end of the shade guide (in other words too bright to even register on the scale): and the normal range of brightnesses (say twenty points across a range) was narrowed down to only a few points.

So this is what teenagers see...and this is what they want to look like. They want white teeth - but teeth are not white, so they all end up wanting to look abnormal: - and it eventually confuses what society sees and wants as normal

cameracat 13 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
8 Oct 2008 11:55AM
On the subject of Dentistry, I heard that naturally overwhite teeth, Are a sign of some mineral deficiency, They are not as strong as teeth with a more normal shade of white........Hell ! mine should last forever.......LOL.........Smile
thebigyin 12 84 6 United Kingdom
10 Oct 2008 12:17AM
I Was in Tesco the other night and on the cover of this months FHM there was a picture of Danni Lloyd and it looked so artificial, it was so obiously touched up.

It may have become as what we expect and to a great extent it is just so widespread that most people turn a blind eye to it.

Its a shame really.

miptog 12 3.5k 61 United Kingdom
10 Oct 2008 12:32AM
This wonderful Dove promotion No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted sums the whole issue for me. The hair, make-up, and shoot is fine to me, the excessive photoshop retouching after makes it unreal, unnatural and gives a false perception of beauty.
culturedcanvas 12 4.7k 59 United Kingdom
10 Oct 2008 9:19AM
I wonder how people have come to think that this has become some kind of modern conspiracy?

Quote:and before anybody shouts up - it has gone way beyond anything that was being done on film and now the software and the where with all is available to anybody.

Are we seemingly stuck in the dark ages? People have aspired to unreasonable beauty for centuries and artistic license was taken by many of the great painters throughout the ages. People have worn outlandish fashions, some of which are unhealthy, and in our modern society large numbers of individuals rely on cosmetic surgery to define their own form of beauty. This is not a new phenomenon.

The motivation behind re-touching has always been there even if the application of the technology has not. Campaigns to drive this sort of thing from our magazines and TV screens are doomed to failure because deep down the population enjoys these aspirational images of a beauty that can't be achieved.

It driving forces are human nature and there is little that can be done to stop it. I too occasionally spend my time wondering about the effects on the pysche of teenagers from such media, however I am a realist and accept that this is the way it is. It wouldnt be unusual to find me admiring an attractive woman in a magazine even though I know she's photoshopped and re-touched either.

Most people are savvy to these advertising industry and at the end of the day many people probably take these images with a pinch of salt .. but for them they maybe provide an enjoyable flight of fantasy and sell a bit of product at the same time.

So what ....
fauxtography 12 6.6k 36
10 Oct 2008 10:11AM

Quote:Most people are savvy to these advertising industry and at the end of the day many people probably take these images with a pinch of salt

Not at all... most do not. A lot of kids are surprised at the extent of retouching and body shape altering that goes on. Also they are exposed to these images before they are old enough to understand the concept of manipulation.

The glut of imagery that they are bombarded with has a saturation effect. Occasionally they may look at one or two images and consider the manipulated nature of it, but the sheer volume of manipulated imagery forms a subconscious almost brain washing effect. It is hard to see something when you are steeped in it.

The documentary mentioned by Alister is worth watching, quite a few levels of irony in it too, but particularly sad when the young girl, when asked what she didn't like about herself, said she didn't want to be brown.
culturedcanvas 12 4.7k 59 United Kingdom
10 Oct 2008 12:05PM
I didnt see the documentary however I still beleive that re-touching is a sympton of human nature rather than something which is a driving force.

If I get a chance to see a repeat of it though I will certainly watch it.

digicammad 14 22.0k 39 United Kingdom
10 Oct 2008 12:07PM

Quote:Photo Re-touching, Where do you stand?

I prefer to sit, but anywhere within easy reach of the mouse.

fauxtography 12 6.6k 36
10 Oct 2008 12:14PM

Quote:If I get a chance to see a repeat of it though I will certainly watch it.

It is on the BBC iplayer still. Yes it is a symptom of vanity/human nature but more of economics to sell magazines. However, it is a vicious cycle that feeds itself and once kids are steeped in this type of imagery it becomes more and more what they aspire to, what they consider to be normal and what reality should be. All without realising the extent to which it is not reality but a hyper reality from marketing.

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