We Can’t Believe Our Eyes

Two great web pages, one educational and one merely instructional, show what miraculous things can be done to the human face with some Photoshop work and perhaps a little professionally applied makeup.

dove real beauty

The Ponderance blog shows the excellent Dove Real Beauty video (via YouTube), in which a rather unassuming woman is transformed into a billboard model: Ponderance: Real Beauty Vs Photoshop (or: An Important Video for Young People).

salma hayek before and after

The Photoshop Lab presents a quick tutorial on how to instantly add years to someone’s face, using Salma Hayek as an example: Aging People.

Digital manipulation of phototographs has gotten a lot of attention since the exposure of a faked picture of a Beruit bombing with enhanced smoke. Of course, photographers were altering pictures well before the digital revolution. But the ease of Photoshop and other such tools has made the process much more prevalent.

What should be considered out of bounds when it comes to altering photographic images? Are there some things that photojournalists can ethically change? And what about other types of photographers? Is it unethical for model photographers to “enhance” their representations of women? Is it ridiculous to assume that there is any such thing as objectivity when it comes to photography? Is it wrong of me to reduce wrinkles and whiten teeth before printing photos that I take of others?

These aren’t merely rhetorical questions. I’m genuinely curious to hear what people think. So, please, if you have any thoughts about this, leave a comment.

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