What is Digital Photo Manipulation? Also, where it is being used that is shocking.
The ethics of digital photo manipulation
How has digital photo manipulation changed?
“ The general principles presented here apply to the manipulation of images using any powerful image-processing software; however, because of the popularity of Photoshop, we refer to several specific functions in this application.” says Mike Rossner and Kenneth M. Yamada.
It once was difficult to do the tasks that are now so simple, because the manipulations were tediously done in a darkroom. Now the manipulations are done with a click of a mouse.
Not only are photos airbrushed for magazine covers of celebrities and wildlife. Photos are now being edited and manipulated by everyone with the advent of websites like Picnik and Photo Bucket .
The most shocking place to find photo manipulation is in the science field.
Rossner and Yamada point out that many people are manipulating images in science in order to change outcomes of research.
In science these photo manipulations can be considered scientific misconduct.
In science creating a result is much worse than making weak results look strong through photo manipulation and punishment will reflect this.
Here is an example of this scientific manipulation:
http://jcb.rupress.org/cgi/content/short/166/1/11 Rossner, M, & Yamada, K. (2004). What's in a picture? the temptation of image manipulation . What's in a picture? The temptation of image manipulation , 166(1), Retrieved from http://jcb.rupress.org/cgi/content/short/166/1/11 doi: 10.1083
I knew that photo manipulation was an increasing trend and that it was creating unattainable body images; but I had no idea that it was a problem in the science field.
The fact that the issue of photo manipulation goes on in the science field is a bit unnerving because it could have adverse effects on people.
Seeing photo manipulation in the science field made me think of how edited images are used in everyday life. I thought about how the images could also be used for bullying and I realized how much of an issue photo manipulation can be. Back to Menu
From as early as the 1860’s photos have been manipulated.
ex. Abraham Lincoln’s photo has been manipulated to have his head on John Calhoun’s body.
Throughout the 1800’s into the 1960’s photo manipulation was used primarily to erase enemies in political photos and to make photos seem more violent in times of war.
Often times photos would be altered to include a person who was not at a particular event throughout the 1800’s and 1900’s.
Beginning around the 1970’s photo manipulation began to change as technology improved.
Farid, H. (n.d.). Photo tampering throughout history . Retrieved from http://www.cs.dartmouth.edu/farid/research/digitaltampering/
Around 1970 photos were manipulated not only for political reasons, but for appeal. It was more for aesthetic reasons than for a statement.
Over the last 30 years editing body image and for aesthetic purposes has greatly increased. As well as doctoring things like signs in photos to say alternate things. For example saying “Bush” instead of “Kerry.”
In 2009 it is difficult to see any photos that have not been doctored in some way. Whether it is a celebrities head on another’s body, or a celebrity airbrushed down to look thin as a rail doctored images are the norm.
Examples: Andy Roddick is not as large as the photo suggests, Faith Hill is not as thin, and the Ralph Lauren model is also clearly airbrushed to be so thin.
I was shocked that so many historical images had been altered, and not in aesthetic ways. The images were altered to include or exclude different people or objects. These changes can completely alter the history behind the displayed scene.
The old phrase “What you see is what you get.” is not true. What you see in images today is no where near reality. More photos are altered than I ever realized.
I feel that it is alright to clear up a blemish, but changes history in photos and airbrushing celebrities to unrealistic proportions is far from a good thing. Children need to reach for realistic goals and the way they see their role models is not going to create this outlook; this goes for adults as well. Adults and children alike also need to be able to flip through a news magazine and see reality, not something like Iraqi troops befriending the U.S. troops if it has not truly happened. Back to Menu
There are rules set for photo journalists on how much manipulation can be done to alter an image. The NPPC, National Press Photographer’s Code, has set restrictions. Seemingly, the restrictions are ignored more often than not.
There is a dilemma has to where the disclaimer should be posted in magazines to say that a photo is not a real image. Typically the disclaimer from the cover is placed five pages or more into the magazine, and no one pays any attention, thus leading the reader believing the image portrayed is real.
Photographers are becoming frustrated by the public’s lack of faith that images are real. With the technology today it is easy to prove a photo has been manipulated, and this irritates photographers.
With “photoshopping” becoming a new art form the ethics of it become harder and harder to determine.
Many photographers see no harm in changing some physical attributes of the person or object being photographed, but this leads to many emotional side effects. This is especially true when a person is the one being altered.
There remains a question between what is “over manipulation” and what is acceptable.
Perhaps the biggest issue is whether photo manipulation is creating untrustworthy images.
http://graphicssoft.about.com/od/digitalphotoethics/The_Ethics_of_Digital_Photo_Manipulation.htm The Ethics of digital photo manipulation . (n.d.). Retrieved from http://graphicssoft.about.com/od/digitalphotoethics/The_Ethics_of_Digital_Photo_Manipulation.htm
I discovered in reading this article that even wildlife can be manipulated in a way that could be thought unethical. I just question why that is. Why change the shape of a tree, unless it is for recreational purposes.
I discovered how much of a gray area the ethics behind photo manipulation is. The restrictions are vague and photographers find most of the manipulation just to be an artistic expression.
I think that the restrictions need to be more specific and there should be times when artistic expression allowed, and when only the object or person in the natural state is portrayed. Back to Menu
In the end, digital photo manipulation can be great fun as long as one is careful and using the technology appropriately.
Photo manipulation is no longer just a problem for magazines it is even making its way into the science world.
The ethics of photo manipulation are difficult to decide, because many times photo manipulation is looked at as an art.