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Photo Doctoring

Photo manipulation has been around since even before computers.  However, since the digital age the advances and capabilities of photo doctoring have skyrocketed.  Photo manipulation brings into question certain ethical issues.  That being said, every photo carries different stakes and circumstances.   A news publication should be responsible for relaying visual and written information to the public in an honest form that is free of influence.  In class we talked briefly about the Time and Newsweek covers that featured O.J. Simpson’s mug shot.  In any news publication the photographs should be authentic and free of any alteration.  The Time cover portrays Simpson in a more menacing light, when compared to the Newsweek cover.  It’s clear that the designer didn’t consider how the alterations might casue certain misinterpretations.    Photo manipulation in non news magazines can also have unfavorable consequences.  Women’s fashion magazines are well known for their tendency to doctor up their models to make them look flawless.  In these types of publications the intended focus is generally said to be on the fashion that the models are wearing,  more so than the model themselves.  The reality is that the model is actually many times the selling point.  Sometimes it doesn’t matter what is being worn, but who is wearing it.  By doctoring the image we are left with an unattainable beauty the people will often measure themselves up against.    Images like these have the power to send a person’s self esteem right down the drain, giving them an unattainable goal to hold themselves up against.  However, who wouldn’t want to see a shark attacking a helicopter?
A good example of the photo manipulation process.


  1. Shawn Talbott wrote:

    This is a good topic and I definitely like the seeing a shark attack a helicopter. But like you said it isn’t right to doctor some images because of the distortion of truth and the way the public perceives this distortion. This is a good start for at lest two of the essay topics. I’m interested to see which one you picked.

    Monday, February 25, 2008 at 9:22 am | Permalink
  2. jhartsel wrote:

    I am also writing about the topic of photo altering in design, and I agree with your comment that each doctored photo carries specific stakes and risk. The circumstances and motivation behind any Photoshopping malfeasance are rightly where our ethical debate should be focused.

    However, on a larger scale I fear that the ease with which we accept altered photos as a fact of life may have more serious consequences than darkened skin down the line…

    Monday, February 25, 2008 at 11:32 am | Permalink