Altering Reality

Posted: April 28, 2011 in Photoshop

Many people are unaware of the extent to which photos are edited or “Photoshopped” in the media.  It has come to our attention through a media literacy class.  Although I had an idea about it, I never knew that EVERY photo I see in a magazine or on a billboard has been Photoshopped.  For me it makes a big difference in my perception of what being a beautiful model or celebrity is.  Viewing the time lapses on Youtube of photos going through the Photoshop editing process and seeing before and after photos has made me realize that what the consumer sees is not reality.

There is large public concern all over the world about how the media affects people, children in particular; Photoshop is one of the main issues.  If young boys and girls look at magazines, and see all these perfected bodies, will their body image be affected and if so, how?  Children are treated as a special audience in the media because they are “especially vulnerable to negative effects from the mass media.” (Potter 59)  Their cognitive, emotional, and moral skills which help protect people from media manipulation are at lower levels than adults.  Adults are also able to determine the context of a media message because they have more life experience.  Children may view the perfection in magazines as a reality, which in result could make them view themselves in a less positive light.

Advocates of the use of Photoshop argue that altering images is a form of art, much like painting or sculpture.  If that is the reason for this practice, shouldn’t people be able to express themselves in an artistic fashion?  Advertisements have many artistic aspects to them: photography, fashion, staging the set, using words in ways which people will be drawn to, along with others.  It is quite a dilemma; one side of the argument wanting to protect the self esteem and body images of men, women, and children, and the other side wanting to protect a form of art.  This issue also brings up a lot of questions.  Would advertisements be less effective without Photoshop?  Would actresses be less successful without Photoshop?  Would many people have higher self esteem without it?
For sources please see the “References” page, and visit “Links” for more info!

  1. Karen McGrath says:

    Hi Sabrina and Mary Kate. I really think you both did a terrific job on this blog. Your links and comments are interesting and insightful. There are only a few minor writing errors but overall a job well done. 19.5/20

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