I am an amateur photographer, and I have Photoshopped.
And I do feel a twinge of guilt when I say that openly.
I had an image in mind, and went to these lengths to create that image, to sharpen what I captured with the lens, to brighten what the light was not sufficient enough to show on its own.
I have Photoshopped people, because quite frankly I work with ideas. I work with archetypes. Then again we all have our reasons, right? And those reasons sound good to us.
When people think of Photoshop, they think of photographers slimming the waists of their models, removing blemishes, and correcting any “imperfections”. I have done that, yes. My models were aware that we were creating a character, and they were the inspiration.
On the flip side of this character development, I’ve made monsters. I’ve emphasized these so-called imperfections and created so much noise in my images that it is unsettling to the viewer. I was going for that type of response.
I will say that I do not agree with the use of Photoshop for advertisements for products (unnamed anti-aging creams spouting the benefits of their product in decreasing lines, when really the photo editor removed those lines entirely, pixel by pixel). I do not agree with changing a well-known person’s identity/appearance so much that they are almost unrecognizable to themselves (except in the case for character development- but not for magazine interviews and showcases).
Like Cindy Crawford has said: “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.”
It’s easy for all of us, including myself, to blame those who use Photoshop or related products for bastardizing our perceptions of beauty.
That being said, we are following a road well-traveled far before us.
I found an article on PopPhoto discussing what they found about those oh-so-famous pin-up gals from the 1950s. The artist used photographs of models as his base.
How do you like this one?
There are ethics in dealing with this sort of issue, and perhaps that will be reflected upon later. Strictly from an artist’s perspective (sans my philanthropist, therapist, humanist sides) , it is just another tool for creation of what we consider an ideal picture.
It isn’t too terribly unlike a paintbrush. A pencil. An eraser. A make-up brush, foundation, and blush. Or an ineffective box of brown hair dye.