What is photo manipulation

What is photo manipulation?

Photo manipulation involves transforming or altering a photograph using various methods and techniques to realize desired results. Some photo manipulations are considered skillful artwork while others are frowned upon as unethical practices, especially when used to deceive the overall public . Other examples include getting used for political propaganda, or to form a product or person look better, or just for entertainment purposes or harmless pranks.

Depending on the appliance and intent, some photo manipulations are considered a kind because it involves the creation of unique images and in some instances, signature expressions of art by photographic artists.

For example, Photo manipulation includes retouching photographs using ink or paint, airbrushing, double exposure, piecing photos or negatives together within the darkroom, scratching instant films, or through the use of software-based manipulation tools applied to digital images.

There are sort of software applications available for digital image manipulation, ranging from professional applications to very basic imaging software like Adobe Photoshop for casual users.

Political and ethical issues

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Photo manipulation has been wont to deceive or persuade viewers or improve storytelling and self-expression. Often even subtle and discreet changes can have a profound impact on how we interpret or judge a photograph, making it all the more important to understand when or if manipulation has occurred.

Use in journalism

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A notable incident of controversial photo manipulation occurred over a photograph that was altered to suit the vertical orientation of a magazine cover.

Use in fashion

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The photo manipulation industry has often been accused of promoting or inciting a distorted and unrealistic image of self; most specifically in younger people. The world of glamour photography is one specific industry which has been heavily involved the utilization of photo manipulation

In social media

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Not only are photos being manipulated by professionals for the media, but also with the rise of social media everyone has easy access to edit photos they post online. Countless apps such as Facetune have been created to allow smartphone user tools to modify personal images.

These apps allow people to edit virtually every aspect within the photo that specialize in the face and body represented. With social media users and the younger generation being exposed to an extreme amount of imagery that has been manipulated the consequences have a negative impact as body ideals are unachievable. Social media has the opportunity to be used as a platform for promoting healthy body image and unedited photos; the need for approval over social media has to be altered in the near future.

In advertising

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Photo manipulation has been utilized in advertisements for Tv commercials and magazines to form their products or the person looks better and more appealing than how they appear actually . Some tricks that are used with photo manipulation for advertising are: fake grill marks with eye-liner, using white glue rather than milk, or using deodorant to form vegetables look glossy.

Celebrity opposition

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Photo manipulation has triggered negative responses from both viewers and celebrities. This has led to celebrities refusing to have their photos retouched in support of the American Medical Association that has decided that ” must stop exposing impressionable children and teenagers to advertisements portraying models with body types only attainable with the assistance of photo editing software” These include

Corporate opposition

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Multiple companies have begun taking the initiative to talk out against the utilization of photo manipulation when advertising their products. Two companies that have done so include Dove and Aerie. Dove created the Dove Self-Esteem Fund and also the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty as a way to try to help build confidence in young women. They want to emphasize what is known as real beauty, or untouched photographs, in the media now. Also, Aerie has started their campaign AerieREAL. They have a line of undergarments now that goes by that name with the intention of them being for everyone.[48] Also, their advertisements state that the model has not been retouched in any way. They also add in their advertisements that “The real you is sexy

Government opposition

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Governments are exerting pressure on advertisers, and are beginning to ban photos that are too airbrushed and edited. In the uk the Advertising Standards Authority has banned a billboard by Lancôme featuring Julia Roberts for being misleading, stating that the flawless skin seen within the photo was too good to be true.The US is additionally occupation the direction of banning excessive photo manipulation where a CoverGirl model’s ad was banned because it had exaggerated effects, leading to a misleading representation of the product.


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Some editors of magazine companies don’t view manipulating their cover models as a problem . In an interview with the editor of the French magazine Marie Claire, she stated that their readers aren’t idiots which they will tell when a model has been retouched. Also, some who support photo manipulation within the media state that the altered photographs aren’t the difficulty , but that it’s the expectations that viewers have that they fail to meet, such as wanting to have the same body as a celebrity on the cover of their favorite magazine.

Opinion polling

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Surveys are done to ascertain how photo manipulation affects society and to ascertain what society thinks of it. One survey was done by a fashion store in the United Kingdom, New Look, and it showed that 90% of the individuals surveyed would prefer seeing a wider variety of body shapes in media. This would involve them eager to see cover models that aren’t all thin, but some with more curves than others. The survey also talked about how readers view the utilization of photo manipulation. One statistic stated that 15% of the readers believed that the cover images are accurate depictions of the model in reality. Also, they found that 33% of women who were surveyed are aiming for a body that is impossible for them to attain.

Social and cultural implications

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The growing popularity of image manipulation has raised concern on whether it allows for unrealistic images to be portrayed to the general public . In her article “On Photography” (1977), Sontag discusses the objectivity, or lack thereof, in photography, concluding that “photographs, which twiddle the size of the planet , themselves get reduced, blown up, cropped, retouched, doctored and tricked out”. A practice widely utilized in the magazine industry, the utilization of photo manipulation on an already subjective photograph, creates a constructed reality for the individual and it can become difficult to differentiate fact from fiction. With the potential to change body image, debate continues on whether manipulated images, particularly those in magazines, contribute to self-esteem issues in both men and ladies .

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