Is that not the most genius idea for an art school marketing campaign that you’ve ever seen? (source)
Listen, we all know that magazines and billboards are photoshopped, right? If not, check out:
And editing itself is not evil. Check out this photo that I took in Europe. Not bad in its original form.
But after a few basic tweaks…voila!
It’s the same…but better. I didn’t make my chin smaller, or my arms thinner. I didn’t add items in the background…I just improved what was already a decent shot.
Do I need to disclose to you that I did that? Probably not. I think you can assume (I do!) that bloggers do some basic editing of their photos, just like they do with their writing.
The issue comes, I think, when you make major structural changes to a photo that a reasonable person could find misleading. Now, science backs me up.
Dr. Farid and Eric Kee, a Ph.D. student in computer science at Dartmouth, are proposing a software tool for measuring how much fashion and beauty photos have been altered, a 1-to-5 scale that distinguishes the infinitesimal from the fantastic.
Some cool dudes at Dartmouth actually created a tool that can help you see how much an image has been changed! It’s available here and features some examples. You can toggle back and forth between befores:
and also get an idea of what, specifically, has been done.
So, let’s go further. Let’s say a magazine edits the white balance, tone and does some minor smoothening/softening of a model’s face. What score would that get, compared to a tabloid that added wrinkles, changed the background and gave the celebrity something in his/her hand that didn’t really exist. Which one is a bigger deal to you?
Would you be more likely to read said magazine if it disclosed its Photoshop score? Would you applaud that, or do you think it’s unnecessary?
*all photos, except my example, are credited and sourced at http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/farid/downloads/publications/pnas11/