Photoshop and the law...

Yesterday we talked about photographers and the law, which for the most part is pretty cut and dry, black and white (a slight pun intended).

But when it comes to Photoshop it's far more gray, being legal doesn't necessarily make it right, and as my mom says "just because you can do it doesn't mean you should".

The part that isn't gray is photojournalism, if you are presenting images as news, real life, real events, you can't manipulate them in Photoshop, to do so is dishonest and will likely cost you your job (like it did here, here, and here).

Follow this link and you'll see 10 news photographs so badly hacked in Photoshop you have to wonder how they ever made it to print.

What about advertising, is it okay to "bend the pixels" in advertising images or does that run contrary to "truth in advertising"?

When a product claims to remove fine lines, how do you know if it was Photoshop and NOT the product that was responsible for their disappearance?

England and France don't think it's okay, in fact they are considering legislation that would require a labeling system for digitally altered images.

They both even banned Maybelline and LancĂ´me ads for "excessive air brushing".

And in the United States some are working on "The Self-Esteem Act" in an effort to protect young women from unrealistic (and unreal) body imagery presented in advertising.

Here are more "interesting" links:

Is she really that skinny? Really?

How 'bout her? This one was so bad Ralph Lauren had to give a public apology.

What was the purpose of moving these two people closer together?

This actress is suing a magazine for taking off her clothes with Photoshop.

Be sure to check out the site "Photoshop Disasters".

PLEASE don't get the impression I am some kind of purist, I 'm not, in fact I LOVE Photoshop.

I heard Vincent Versace say that Photoshop should be used like an emery board but too many folks use it like a hammer. I try to take the emery board approach.

Now some folks might think me hypocritical... why?

Remove acne from a senior portrait, yup, I do that. In the years to come I want that man to look back and see his youth, not his bad acne day.

"Hide" moms bra strap, do that too. I want mom to see a happy family moment and nothing else.

That little extra that is coming over the top of a brides dress, I will "push" it back. When she shows her children (and grandchildren) the images of her wedding I want her to bask in the joy if that special day, not to focus on her weight.

I am not a photojournalist, I am not presenting these images to the public as reality, or the way life really was at that very moment. My purpose is to leave my client with something they will look back on with joy.

And I love the phenomenal "fantasy work" created with Photoshop, and imagery with "that certain look" (like the work from Dave Hill and Joel Grimes).

But (I think) there is no comparison between folks who edit an image for a bride or create art vs. those who present lies as news or advertisers who deceive by presenting fictional imagery with the message "this is what you should look like".


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Flickr Site: Heartlandsetters

photography by anika alonzo said...

Ok, I'm not even a photoshopper, I'm a Lightroomer. But I guess I am some kind of a purist. I have big problems with the whole headswapping thing and adding and removing things as you please. Not cool. What's even worse are said adverisements. Big problem with that. I wish there was some kind of law that would forbid making models disgustingly thin. But until then, we have to teach our kids better.
Thanks for a great post :)

half blind said...

I completely agree with you, Scott. There is no comparison to be made between someone who purports to present the absolute truth in an image, and someone who doesn't.