Example Of Digital Manipulation A Negative Development For Photography Argumentative Essay
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Everybody seems to be a photographer these days. With people being able to take great pictures right from their phones, a good camera is no longer a vital necessity. Moreover, any taken image can be improved with the help of a filter from Instagram. More and more images are digitally altered every day before being presented to us. Even amateurs now do it on platforms like Instagram. Though the pictures do look better and may be aesthetically more pleasing to look at, digital manipulation is having a negative impact on the development of photography. Digital photo manipulation presents a false reality, builds distrust, and sets unrealistic beauty standards.
It seems that pictures of the countryside keep getting prettier and prettier. It’s as if the grass is becoming greener with every update of Photoshop and the sky is more often filled with a beautiful rich blue. Unfortunately, humans aren’t making nature any prettier. Just as before, we still have a negative impact on our environment. The pictures are just getting prettier. These manipulated images start creating the false reality we expect to find when leaving the city. Yet landscape photography is not the only problem. Media more and more turns to digital manipulation and not only makes photos prettier but also may misread facts. Images from TV screens and newspapers have less and less trust from the audience. “As many astute observers of media have pointed out, transparency in journalism will be a critical part of how media works in the future and the credibility of brands will hang on our belief that their intention is delivering some version of the truth.” (Haggart, 2009)
Distrust first comes to mind when a beautiful picture is presented. More often do we here the phrase - “Is that picture real?” This is a far cry from what photography was initially supposed to be. Photos were first an almost perfect copy of the world around us. Now people don’t trust them. They do not trust the media and do not trust the new profile picture uploaded by a friend on Facebook. In a world where privacy is losing its meaning and marketers are monitoring our every move, people cannot even trust the photos in front of them. This goes not only for hard breaking news stories. There are different media channels out there and different audiences prefer to watch and read on different topics.
One of such topics is beauty. Even though this may not reach the news most of the days, women and men as well read about beauty every day. What we find are digitally manipulated images of women that are too thin, too tall and have unrealistically perfect skin. These are the women we see on all of the commercials online and offline, on all of the magazine covers. While confidence is a great trait, not every woman has it. Not every girl is born with confidence to be different, to be not perfect, to be not the beautiful that society thinks is. Consequently, we have girls with low self-esteem worrying about them being ugly or fat, while in fact, they are perfectly normal. Instead of concentrating on something more important, like passing that Calculus exam with flying colors, they keep worrying about those pictures of perfect girls. Those perfect girls, on the other hand, do not exist. People look up to things that are not real, things that were created with the help of Photoshop. Then we should not be surprised when that very same girl uploads a tweaked photo of herself for her profile picture.
Digital manipulation can have some good as well. Photographers become artists with the tools of a camera and a computer. They create stunning images which are true works of art. They change an image and present their point of view of the situation. Just like any great piece of art, one can read it in different ways. “The fundamental fact that we usually forget is that when we take a picture we do not make a perfectly objective recording of reality. What we make is an interpretation of reality” (Lodriguss, 2006). Regardless of the negatives, Photoshop and Instagram do have their good side. They make photos and people in these photos more beautiful.
The false reality, loss of trust and unrealistic standards keep building a negative image for photography. Yet, with the negatives, comes the positives and the beautiful works of art that we have today. Perhaps the solution is to build policies and rules for digital photo manipulation. Thus, people will be more aware of the changes that may have been made and their trust will be regained. Some limits as to how much of an image can be changed before it goes out to the public to be presented as the original should also be introduced. If such steps are taken, then I believe more and more people will be able to attend modern art exhibitions and enjoy the wonderful works of art in front of them.
Jerry Lodriguss (2006). The Ethics of Digital Manipulation. Retrieved from http://www.astropix.com/HTML/J_DIGIT/ETHICS.HTM
Rob Haggart (Sept. 18, 2009). Is Photo Manipulation Bad For Photography? Retrieved from http://aphotoeditor.com/2009/09/18/is-photo-manipulation-bad-for-photography/
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