Warning! Excessive viewing of photoshopped images may turn you into a freakshow.
In 1987, Thomas Knoll, a PhD student at the University of Michigan, began writing a program on his Macintosh Plus to display grayscale images on a monochrome display. Together with his brother they developed the program into an image-editing program, which they called Photoshop. They demonstrated the program to engineers at Apple and Adobe and in September 1988 Adobe bought the license to distribute it. In 1990 Photoshop 1.0 (we are now at 5.5) was released for Macintosh exclusively. Besides the tools for cropping, painting, measuring and typing, a palette for retouching pictures was available. Known as clone stamp, eraser, burn, dodge, smudge and blur tools, this possibility for retouching, manipulating and adjusting photos soon became a thriving business.
Little did Mister Knoll know, what he had done to society; just like Doctor Frankenstein he had created a monster.
|30 minutes of work, a lifetime damage?|
If you think that this story doesn’t concern you, think again. Photoshop is not only giving professionals in the creative business a possibility to fulfill their visions,
no, Photoshop is in your daily life as well.
In fact it is so omnipresent, that we don’t even perceive it anymore.
Retouched pictures have become normality to us; something that we don’t notice. Of course somewhere in our brain the information is stored that this picture has been adjusted somehow, but just how much it has been manipulated, you can’t imagine in your wildest dreams.
|click, erase, click, create unreal image of body|
Legs are made longer, waists smaller and boobs bigger, until we tip (virtually) over. The “common” face has become a complete alien; tiny noses, huge eyes (with eyelashes as long as a camels) and the perfectly even skin, seems a completely regular image for us to look at. The rare product, aka human body, aka photo, undergoes so much changes before going to media, it doesn’t even exist! We are looking at completely fictional pictures and not realizing that our role models are made up. Dove has made a wonderful short video about it, which you can look at here.
|Illusion is the perfect description for this product.|
You want a pore free skin like the amazing Clarins women? You would suffocate under a minute if your body didn’t have pores, darling. Furthermore symmetry in a face looks complete surreal (just mirror your face and you won’t even recognize yourself). And another thing; a grown-up does not have the face proportions of a baby, where the eye-and-front part take up half of the whole face!
True, but tell us something new?
Well, my worries go out to the part of the population that does NOT detect these pictures as unreal. Click here to see an other dove action for more self esteem.
Yes, it is mostly children and teenagers that see this pictures as an admiration, developing a distorted self-perception and a low self-esteem, because their aims are, well, simply unreachable. But what about the thousands of grown-up women that go on a downright pilgrimage from one surgery to the next one, to look like… an imaginary person?
Tighten, lighten, brighten; just how much time does it take us to see that actual Photoshop tools have become reality thanks to modern technology? Creams, treatments and surgery trick us into thinking we can change what ever we don’t like about our body. Except that there is no “undo-button” in real life.
If we continue this “wanting-a-perfect-nose-and-while-we-are-already-at-it-we can-also-do-the-long-wanted-boobjob” behavior, we will start looking the same. In fact we already do, just look at this video, and you will see how women look all the same on TV.
What are we afraid of? What are we hiding? Since when has it become weak to have wrinkles? Living life means going through it with all that it takes! And that implies that you are showing your emotions, which incidentally leads to moving your muscles and provoking your skin to have lines. Don’t like it? Here, take the eraser tool!
Imagine album after album, full of pictures of you, not aging
This has got to stop somewhere, hasn’t it?
What about the good old “way of life” that can make you look perfectly beautiful at any age? You know… drinking 2 liters of water daily, eating healthy, exercising, not smoking, and avoiding the sun? Does that ring a bell somewhere on this planet? Why does nobody my age believe me that unprotected sun exposure is THE nr 1 factor for premature skin ageing? How often do I have to repeat that putting on sun screen everyday will provide for a nice looking skin for a LONG time! Unless of course you want to spend loads of money in Clinique creams that supposedly remove your aging spots. Like I said there is no “undo”, that will make you look naturally young again.
I am kind of at loss here, where can this go? What can we do about this?
Certainly there are organizations fighting this kind of sorcery and there have been discussions about putting warning labels on retouched pictures, like on the abc news in 2011.
If alcohol and cigarettes carry labels warning about health problems, why shouldn’t photoshopped photos carry them? If it can prevent one girl from not falling into depression, an eating disorder or simply fatal self-confidence for a lifetime, it is already a win.
Please don’t become a Photoshop victim. Love yourself.
Oh and by the way, I enjoyed making these warning labels with... Photoshop of course! Talking about defeating someone by his own weapons ;)