Written by Baylen Whitfield. Media by Baylen Whitfield.
Can we believe anything we see with our own eyes anymore? Digital manipulation occurs often in this day and age and there are various art forms that use this manipulation such as audio, videography, and photography. We have been able to digitally manipulate these art forms for about as long as they have been around. In fact, since the time cameras were first invented, photography has always experienced manipulation. This is because a camera interprets our reality and creates an image based off of what it sees. So, you might be wondering, under what conditions is manipulation of photography acceptable?
One of the first cases of intentional photo manipulation occurred during the analog days of photography through conventional methods of darkroom in 1917. Elise Wright, 16, and her cousin Frances Griffith, 10, used a camera to produce what they claimed was a photograph of fairies in their garden in Cottingley, England. It was reported that they admitted their photographs were fake and purely intended for fun.
With the switch from analog to digital, manipulation of photography and other art forms has become more common, easier to operate, and harder to identify when being used. Software and programs such as Photoshop and Lightroom have made it more possible for people to manipulate images and deceive viewers. It could be all fun and games or intended to make an image or product more desirable and profitable.
Whether conventional darkroom methods or Photoshop are being used, ethics and aesthetics must be considered when manipulating, correcting, or enhancing a photo. Ethics is a set of rules that categorize what is generally good and bad. Aesthetics deals with the nature of beauty and what is pleasing to our eyes. Many makeup and beauty companies disregards and/or manipulate ethics and aesthetics.
Beauty companies are experts when it comes to manipulating digital photography to create a desirable image for young women that is not realistic. They fool their customers with manipulation that includes, but is not limited to, fancy lighting, backdrops, and/or Photoshop to create their ideal image of a woman. These photos are then marketed through mediums such as commercials, magazines, and social media. Because women are bombarded with these digitally manipulated images, they are more likely to develop insecurities and low self-esteem.
A group of 2,700 members were recently surveyed by The American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and discovered that one-third of doctors saw an increase in procedure requests in the 2013 survey. It stated that 13 percent of plastic surgeons had patients request plastic surgery because they were dissatisfied with their appearance in comparison to the women they saw through social media.
Many people, especially young women, are pressured to meet standards of beauty that are nothing more than manipulated media. These various surgical operations hurt their bodies in the process of trying to achieve the ideal look. It would appear as though many digital manipulation experts and beauty care companies do not care about the affect they have on their viewers.
So, what do you think? How much digital manipulation is too much?
There are also apps for photography manipulation.