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Image Manipulation Gone Wrong

By: Michelle Arcenal at Lazymask

Submitted on Fri, May 9th, 2008 2:08 am

Can we still believe everything we see in photos? With today's state of the art technology, we can absolutely do anything we want with photographs. From trimming down love handles to making your grandma look 20 years younger, the possibilities are endless.

Many people believe that the manipulation of images started during the invention of the very popular Photoshop, but the truth is, there have been fake photographs even before it was mass produced. Though it was not that popular, mainly because purchasing such software, before, can hurt one's bank account, the knowledge on the how-to-do image manipulation is also not that widespread. In as early as 1860's, photographs already lost its innocence and were being manipulated only a few decades after the first photograph was created by Nipce in 1914. Its uses, the cultural impact, and the ethical concerns have made it a very interesting subject beyond the skills and technical process involved.

The continuous drop of prices for many software and hardware manufacturers, the proliferation of free downloadable software over the Internet, added with the fact that the average desktop computer now has the capacity to run sophisticated programs for graphics, one would understand how largely the graphic industry has grown. Almost anybody can make his own graphic firm as long they are creative or they feel they can be. With this growth, the practice and need for digital image manipulation have become indispensable for many businesses. Original and faked photos are becoming harder to detect and it has even become a favorite pastime for many creative people. Image manipulation or photographic fakery has become this new art form, it is strongly gaining popularity since it helps express your creative fancies, it enhances one's creativity and it amplifies the sellability of a product for many businesses.

The popularity of image manipulation or doctoring of photographs opens a new service niche for many graphic businesses. Image manipulation is now an add on to other graphic design services such as logo design, photo restoration, banner making and among others. This business opportunity creates job openings for many graphic artists and this same opportunity also pose much convenience for exploitation. The credibility, the integrity of an image now-a-days are questioned and ethics on advertising or journalism are sometimes discarded.

Industry belonging to advertising, print and design are among those who heavily use this photo editing technique and also, sometimes, the offender of the ethics previously mentioned. To name a few, you might notice some exceptionally miraculous skin care and weight loss product advertisements wherein sagging skins, wrinkles and buckets of fats are taken off. Some but not all have manipulated those images to mislead the would be buyers into purchasing the product. That's just plain wrong. A notable case of a controversial photo manipulation was in 1982 when National Geographic magazine editors photographically moved two Egyptian pyramids closer together so that they would fit on the vertical cover. These types of cases have triggered debates and have pushed a body of writing on the proper use of digital image manipulation in photojournalism. These Code of Ethics promotes the accuracy of published images, advising that photographers "do not manipulate images [...] that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects". Although most are aware of this kind of practices, people, especially businesses, expect a certain amount of image manipulation as a standard practice in advertising and commercial photography. The more manipulated the more eye catching to the audience as they say. It can be alarming at some point since more and more digitally doctored images are appearing in the media these days stirring desire and impelling action that can, in the long run, harm the consumers.

The rampant cases of digitally manipulated photos have made the viewers more critical and are now not easily susceptible to images intentionally manipulated in order to deceive. People are now likely to doubt perfectly captured photos and controversial images that aims to arouse emotions and suggest decisions.

Although digital image manipulation and other photo editing techniques help the images we are trying to sell to become more attractive and more enticing, there is no excuse, however, to over use this technique in order to propagate a lie. People should also be aware of the rules and guidelines of Digital Image Manipulation. As they say, everything should always be in moderation.

About the Author

Michelle Arcenal
Lazymask
Mchilly is Lazymask company blogger.

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