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Cabbage tree. - Capital Adventures
October 21st, 2009
09:20 pm
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Cabbage tree.



This image has been digitally altered. Most of them are.

The link in my previous post leads to a New York Times article on the recent kerfuffle over Ralph Lauren's bizarrely photoshopped models. (Here and here, for anyone who hasn't seen 'em). Some British politicians are angling for such images to be banned, some French ones for warning labels on them - "Thighs in Photo May Appear Smaller Than Actual Size" perhaps.

I agree that current commercial images of desirability aren't doing anyone's mental health any favours, but I don't see any such legislation doing any good. Post processing of whatever sort is a necessary step in the production of good photos, so enforcement of any such rule would become a matter of not whether Photoshop was used at all, but whether it was used too much. The first is easy to measure, the second a matter of opinion much like the "know it when I see it" definition of pornography.

Speaking of pornography, I'd like to mention a small debt gratitude to an ex-boyfriend. Like many men, he had a digital stash of erotic imagery. Included in this was a substantial collection of Playboy centrefolds from the early 70's (I think - I can't recall exactly) to the mid 90's. He also had another, un-retouched version of one of these pictures, from about the mid 70's by the look of it - and the model in it was moderately hairy. I'm not talking about pubic hair, but just about normal arm and leg hairs all catching the studio lights. Fuzzy just like me! Cool! You know how the story ends though - all that fuzz gone, somewhere in the editing process. It was enlightening and somehow reassuring to see those two images in quick succession. Airbrushing, I saw, isn't just something they talk about to make us ordinary people feel better.

Oddly enough, Mr Lauren's Photoshop-monkey has done me a similar favour. These unfortunate bobbleheads, manufactured out of good photos of perfectly nice women who happen to be unusually tall and skinny, are so cartoonish in proportion that I am relieved of the burden of even attempting to emulate them (not that I was trying that hard to begin with). I can no more achieve that look than I can grow an orange striped tail and become Tigger and honestly - nor would I want to.

Current Music: Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - The Carny
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[User Picture]
From:madshutterbug
Date:October 21st, 2009 11:18 am (UTC)
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Many people seen to believe that photographic manipulation didn't start until the digital age and the creation of all the programs for doing so.

This proves not to be the case.

Man Ray 'stumbled' across a technique called both solarisation and Sabattier effect, in the 1930's. It was first described in 1859.

Jerry Ulesmann, among many others, creates composite photographs from multiple negatives, having as many as 6 to 8 enlargers in his darkroom. He started this long before the digital photography innovations came along.
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From:firesmithsghost
Date:October 21st, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
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kewl
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From:dianavilliers
Date:October 22nd, 2009 05:09 am (UTC)
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Hmm. I wonder how that works. Do you have any references for the chemistry behind solarisation?
From:siliconshaman
Date:October 21st, 2009 02:10 pm (UTC)
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Image manipulation, or post processing started with the 5th photograph taken apparently. The subject, a bowl of fruit, was retouched to enhance the highlights and shadows. Or so the story goes.
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From:wcg
Date:October 21st, 2009 02:58 pm (UTC)
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Clover Adams was renowned for her black and white portraits of Washington DC notables during the 19th century. While a lot of her art was done on the spot with careful positioning and framing, a lot more was done in her darkroom as she played around with tricks like unsharp masking.
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From:yo_sarrian
Date:October 21st, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
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Yeah... this argument cracks me up. EVERY digital image has been "digitally manipulated", just like every film image has been manipulated by just choosing the kind of film used.

And putting warning labels on art? I don't even want to THINK about the precedent they're creating there.
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From:madshutterbug
Date:October 21st, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC)

That

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This photograph contains Art. Art is only a theory, and is not to be accepted as a Reality without additional research...

or something.
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From:dianavilliers
Date:October 22nd, 2009 05:55 am (UTC)
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Art? I thought I was discussing advertising. Plenty of ads contain fine print...
- Serving suggestion -
- Filmed on a closed road -
and that entire screen full of stuff they have to stick on drug advertisements.

Nothing wrong with that. I just don't think it would be possible to enforce such a rule in the case of nasty advertisers promoting unhealthy body images through misleading postprocessing.
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From:sarahdotcom
Date:October 21st, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
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Honestly, the head on your cabbage tree looks bigger than its bum! For shame!
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From:dianavilliers
Date:October 22nd, 2009 05:08 am (UTC)
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Oh, it's so much worse than that. I've chopped off its head completely, rendering it nothing but a depersonalised (de-tree-anised?) body for the viewer to objectify....
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From:firesmithsghost
Date:October 21st, 2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
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Is it okay if I simply like this because it's pretty? I mean, can I forgo the debate as to what is art, and when art is art, and simply enjoy it, because it's there?

If someone finds pleasure it the viewing, just this once, can this not be enough?
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From:dianavilliers
Date:October 22nd, 2009 06:08 am (UTC)
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Is it OK? Why're you asking me? I don't get to tell you what to feel, or how deeply you should feel it. If that's what you want to do go right ahead - this time or any time.

Although if you think the photoshopped models aren't at least a little peculiar, I do reserve the right to question your taste.
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From:firesmithsghost
Date:October 22nd, 2009 08:59 am (UTC)
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From:micheinnz
Date:October 22nd, 2009 09:06 am (UTC)
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And your point would be...?
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From:firesmithsghost
Date:October 22nd, 2009 03:42 pm (UTC)
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The first article is named "FAT". It relates the use of photoshopping, see photos in article, that change the way people look at what is supposed to be beautiful. A model was fired for being too fat, and one of her last photos was photoshopped to the point she looked alien.

At that point, I suspect, we can at least agree it is not art.
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From:micheinnz
Date:October 22nd, 2009 05:39 pm (UTC)
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Yes, those would be the Ralph Lauren models dianavilliers referred to in her post.

(I wondered what your point was because posting a link to a blog is always risky -- blogger might have updated between the time you post and the time your intended audience reads. Always better to link to the post.)
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From:firesmithsghost
Date:October 22nd, 2009 05:58 pm (UTC)
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I'm still trying to figure out a lot of the tech stuff. I'm a writer, not a computer geek. But dianavilliers has a very valid point that ought not need to be made. we ought to realize real women do not look like models, and models are not real women. They're painted, photographed, and perhaps there is some artistic value in what is being done, but there is no way your average everyday teenager girl is going to look like that except on a computer, no matter whose clothes she's wearing. I think it's a terrible thing that's being done, but as long as there's money in it...

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From:micheinnz
Date:October 22nd, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
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Hey, I'm an electrical worker and recovering computer geek. ;)

And I agree that in an ideal world we wouldn't need to make the point that these images are warped beyond reality, but while the point does need to be made, I think we should keep making it.

In other words, I think we're in violent agreement. :)
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From:firesmithsghost
Date:October 22nd, 2009 06:38 pm (UTC)
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I'm working the graveyard shift these days. I'm not quite certain if the things I'm writing make sense to other people. I'm fairly certain I'm still entertaining. If in no other sense, teh same way a slow train wreck is.
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From:firesmithsghost
Date:October 22nd, 2009 05:59 pm (UTC)

oh by the way

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