December 21, 2005

Image manipulation

Writing about web page http://demo.fb.se/e/girlpower/retouch/

This is an interesting site which shows in reasonable detail how photos are manipulated prior to publication. It lists twelve separate changes to the original photo to arrive at the magazine cover version:-

  • Eyes
  • Teeth
  • Lips
  • Nose
  • Facial creases
  • Jawline
  • Cheek shadows
  • Hair
  • Shirt creases
  • Breasts
  • Waist
  • Shirt colour

You can see in detail what the before and after results of each change are, and the cumulative effects are both startling and depressingly familiar; isn't that just exactly how the covers of magazines look?

But the reason the site is particularly interesting, I think, is the rationale behind it. There are lots of sites which show how photo manipulation is done; some of them are just technical how-tos for Photoshop novices, others are just more gossip masquerading as authenticity. But the intended audience for this site is people who might be adversely affected by comparing themselves with digitally altered images:-

Bear in mind that many photos claiming to show reality don't do so. Be critical and do not compare yourself to someone who has gone through twenty hours of retouching.

The client for this piece of work? The Swedish Ministry of Health and Social Affairs. Kudos to them.


- One comment Not publicly viewable

  1. That's incredible. A normal-looking girl turned into an ethereally glowing, shiny, impossibly collagen-packed dream.

    I wouldn't mind getting photoshopped…

    I swear, though, the first book I ever write will be a feminist book of altered fairy tales. So my daughters can recoil at photoshop and skin-deep values. But will we ever defeat biological impulse..? Sigh.

    23 Dec 2005, 18:24


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