Objections, Opinions, and Photo Manipulation

8 February, 2011

Follow the links below to read the two articles about the ethical/moral aspects of photo manipulation. Form an opinion. Within your blog entry, discuss your thoughts about the subject matter. Support your opinion with information from the articles and/or other research. Your entry should include 2 to 3 well-written paragraphs. Images are optional.

O.J.’s Last Run: A Tale of Two Covers

No Boo-boos or Cowlicks?


After reading both of the links, I have come to realize how manipulative photo manipulation really is. One would think it’s editing blemishes or whitening teeth. It isn’t; it is way more than that. From the article “No Boo-boos or Cowlicks?”, some parents wanted to have their child’s hair shortened, others, noses fixed, or eyebrows shaped. Aren’t photos supposed to capture us in the moment? Editing, cropping, revamping, distorting, images is definitely not capturing in the moment.

The article “O.J.’s Last Run: A Tale of Two Covers” is quite interesting. The Time Magazine‘s first cover page was ominous, and mysterious, begging readers for more. In my opinion, it does not depict racism, but an artful point of view on the original photo. Sure, it makes O.J. look a little darker, a little scarier, but isn’t that the point that the magazine was trying to convey? The first cover sort of seemed like a sale strategy, ‘buy this and you will find out why the cover is so dark’ (it does not actually say this, but it is what it seems to be getting across.) Even though the minority filed for lawsuit against Time, they should not have taken the cover so literally. The art does seem to be “more compelling” and practically begs the reader to buy the magazine to see why the art was “so compelling”.

The infamous editing of pictures. Here is where the subject gets touchy. School photos are meant to capture one in the present time, whether they are prepared for it, or not. Photo manipulation has been brought into schools, altering photos since the ink was first invented. However, some take photo manipulation to the extreme: cropping hair, altering facial features, making themselves or others someone who they really aren’t. That is where the line should be drawn. I can understand removing a pimple or a stain on a shirt, but getting a nose job through the power of manipulation? That’s impractical. In my opinion, I believe there should be a limit to photo manipulation. Removing a zit, here and there, removing a stain, that makes sense to me. That, I am okay with. Mr. Brand, from the “No Boo-boos or Cowlicks” article said it best, “I think you want to look back on the way you were, and not the way you wanted to be,” Mr. Brand said. “It’s not an honest thing to reflect back on [referring to photo manipulation]”. Altering a child’s photograph may make them seem imperfect, better than they could be, and the “ideal” child parents are looking for. It’s plain wrong. If the child is okay with it, I understand. Another good perspective from the article is what I just recently talked about: “So if a parent has a school photo tinkered with, Dr. Peterson said, “it can inadvertently send a message that ‘I perceive you as less than perfect and not ideal.’ ”

With photo manipulation going global, film makers, magazines, celebrities and even school photographers are using it to make your photographs seem flawless and absolutely perfect. The fact is, no one is perfect, everyone has flaws. Everyone has their own opinion. The manipulation of photos should have a thin line, one you must not cross. The very definition of photograph is “to capture something or someone with a camera in the moment.” I rest my case there.


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