Photos with a warning?

FrankieTDouglas

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The argument is that commercial photography that has been altered should have a warning attached to it. This is so people know that what they are seeing is not actually true.

How do you feel about this? Does the simple fact come into play that ANY time a photo is taken, reality has been altered to fit within the constructs of photography? At what point is an image "altered"? When you shoot high depth of field rather than low, or perhaps when you use a flash rather than reflected or direct light? When you boost saturation or convert to greyscale? When you digitally remove a blemish rather than put makeup over it? When you smooth skin? When does photography become "not reality" and should there be a warning label?



http://ethicist.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/20/should-photos-come-with-warning-labels/

A Ralph Lauren ad, featuring a model with hips narrower than her head — so cartoonish, so grotesque, so right for Halloween — has become the latest focus of the already ongoing criticism of digitally altered fashion spreads, even though it ran only in Japan. Foes see such images as harming women by promoting a standard of beauty so false that it can be achieved solely by manipulating a photograph of an already slender model. This image is an extreme example of what happens to many ads, a practice that has become so dubious that some governments are taking action. Should ads using electronically altered images be banned?

...story continued in link
 

Zombie Acorn

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How about the people just use common sense and we don't deal with this issue at all? Whoever doesn't realize they photoshop everything these days has been living in a damn closet anyways.

As for presenting an unobtainable standard to girls via models, they are never going to be super models anyways.
 

Zombie Acorn

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It's not about girls thinking they could be models, it's about presenting an unreal image of what women are supposed to look like.
They see real women every day.

99.9% of them aren't going to be able to do anything to make themselves look like the women who pose for magazines even pre-photoshop anyways.
 

arkitect

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Sep 5, 2005
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I guess I should ad a warning label to this… but surely things have progressed beyond ridiculous.
How any magazine editor in his/her right mind could think this image is OK.

Does this girl look remotely real?
:confused:


But I guess if this is the world you inhabit anything goes:
"These are fat mummies sitting with their bags of crisps in front of the television, saying that thin models are ugly," Lagerfeld said in an interview with Focus magazine. The creative director of the fashion house Chanel added that the world of fashion was all to do "with dreams and illusions, and no one wants to see round women".
Link…
 

kavika411

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As someone who knows nothing about photography, impressionable young women, marketing, etc., I am way out of my league in this debate. That admitted, I keep hearing a quote (from David Cronenberg in an NPR interview maybe?) in my head: "the artist has no moral obligation to his/her audience." I guess I agree with this, whether it be the Pissed Christ exhibit or a Levis ad in Rolling Stone. Arriving at the same conclusion a different way, I can't begin to comprehend a system that "protects" an audience from (1) being "victims" of photoshop and/or (2) being "victims" of wanting a body, a car, a house, a life, a pet, etc. that does not exist. I can't imagine a legal structure that would protect such scenarios.
 

miloblithe

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That's a good point Kavika, however, that's only one component of what's going on here. Advertising campaigns are not "art" in the same sense, and ads are subject to a number of (entirely justifiable) regulations prohibiting false advertising. While it is on the one hand the responsibility of the consumer to vote with their wallet, it is the responsibility of government (and industry) to enforce strong consumer projections.

Everything requires balance.
 

kavika411

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That's a good point Kavika, however, that's only one component of what's going on here. Advertising campaigns are not "art" in the same sense, and ads are subject to a number of (entirely justifiable) regulations prohibiting false advertising. While it is on the one hand the responsibility of the consumer to vote with their wallet, it is the responsibility of government (and industry) to enforce strong consumer projections.
Good point. Hadn't thought of it that way. Still, I can't imagine dealing with the degrees of photo enhancement. On one hand you have a touch up to fix a shadow or a pimple, on the other you have a touch up that tightens the model's waiste to less than the size of her head like above. I'd hate to be charged with the task of drawing that line in the sand about what requires a warning and what does not. Very interesting, though.
 

miloblithe

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Good point. Hadn't thought of it that way. Still, I can't imagine dealing with the degrees of photo enhancement. On one hand you have a touch up to fix a shadow or a pimple, on the other you have a touch up that tightens the model's waiste to less than the size of her head like above. I'd hate to be charged with the task of drawing that line in the sand about what requires a warning and what does not. Very interesting, though.
I agree. And in reality that line will be extremely difficult if not impossible to draw. If every photo in every ad campaign has to carry a notice saying "this picture was digitally manipulated" then it will kind of lose any useful meaning. Listing out specific tools that don't require the label (boosting colors or contrast, etc.) could just lead to clever use of allowable tools to achieve the effects that were intended to be covered by the label.
 

Thomas Veil

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It's for the reasons you mention, miloblithe, that I don't know if regulations would work. Damn near everything is manipulated these days. I put photos on web pages where I adjust contrast and color because they were **** to begin with. Would my fixing those require a warning?

Maybe what we need more of is publicizing and even ridiculing how freakish photos like the one above really are. I mean, that's concentration camp stuff right there.
 

FrankieTDouglas

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It's for the reasons you mention, miloblithe, that I don't know if regulations would work. Damn near everything is manipulated these days. I put photos on web pages where I adjust contrast and color because they were **** to begin with. Would my fixing those require a warning?

Maybe what we need more of is publicizing and even ridiculing how freakish photos like the one above really are. I mean, that's concentration camp stuff right there.
Using a camera is manipulation, period. Even talking to your subject while you click the shutter is manipulation. Richard Avedon's fashion portraits were pure mental and verbal manipulations of his subjects before he exposed a sheet of film.
 

Zombie Acorn

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Zombie, do you know any actual women?

Do you have any idea what the prevalence of eating disorders is?
I know plenty of women, plenty of them whom are fine with the way they look, I don't know anyone with an eating disorder.

Lack of common sense on one person's part shouldn't lead to a restriction on someone elses. Also 4/10 adults will be obese in 5 years, why do these magazine images only warp the mind of a select few? Lack of judgement? Lack of education?
 

leekohler

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It's not about girls thinking they could be models, it's about presenting an unreal image of what women are supposed to look like.
And you think the same thing doesn't happen to men?

Zombie, do you know any actual women?

Do you have any idea what the prevalence of eating disorders is?
Oh please. So- because some women have eating disorders, photos should come with warning labels? Ridiculous. You think so little of women that you believe photos give them eating disorders?
 

hulugu

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I'm not sure about a warning, but perhaps digitally altered images should be called illustrations rather than photographs.

At some point, all photography is false, there's been a great discussion about the complexities of cropping after Newsweek ran a severely cropped photo of Dick Cheney by David Hume Kennerly.

In the original picture, Dick Cheney is cutting up a steak and his family is in the background. In the cropped version as used by Newsweek, only Cheney is visible.

I remember reading about photos made during the Crimean War, including one that includes cannonballs placed into the scene and was actually far from the battlefield.

And, during the American Civil War, photographers were known to have posed bodies in order to make the photos more emotive.

Ultimately, there either has to be some ethics on the part of photographers in their medium, or else we have to move away from the notion that a photograph is a capture of reality.
 

miloblithe

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And you think the same thing doesn't happen to men?



Oh please. So- because some women have eating disorders, photos should come with warning labels? Ridiculous. You think so little of women that you believe photos give them eating disorders?
Maybe not. I actually like the suggestion of subjecting things like this to a great deal of social ridicule, like on photoshopdisasters.blogspot.com and other such places.

But instead of standing up for the rights of incredibly out-of-touch fashion designers to create ads with unrealistic images of beauty, I think I'm more interested in figuring out how to make the world a slightly better place.

My understanding is that outside sources of body images actually are rarely the main cause of eating disorders, and that more often than not an eating disorder is a manifestation of another problem. Eating disorders was probably the wrong thing to bring up. I think that unrealistic fashion images often have a negative effect without reaching the level of eating disorders.
 

leekohler

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Maybe not. I actually like the suggestion of subjecting things like this to a great deal of social ridicule, like on photoshopdisasters.blogspot.com and other such places.

But instead of standing up for the rights of incredibly out-of-touch fashion designers to create ads with unrealistic images of beauty, I think I'm more interested in figuring out how to make the world a slightly better place.
Putting warning labels all over photos isn't my idea of making the world a better place. It's more like making the world more stupid. If someone can't tell that a photo like that isn't real, they have much deeper problems that putting warnings labels on photos isn't going to solve.

My understanding is that outside sources of body images actually are rarely the main cause of eating disorders, and that more often than not an eating disorder is a manifestation of another problem. Eating disorders was probably the wrong thing to bring up. I think that unrealistic fashion images often have a negative effect without reaching the level of eating disorders.
And that negative effect is what?
 

hulugu

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...If someone can't tell that a photo like that isn't real, they have much deeper problems that putting warnings labels on photos isn't going to solve.
That photo is clearly fodder for the Photoshop Fail blog—though I saw it originally on BoingBoing—but what about more subtle images?

It's not just photography that gives a false measure of reality, films do it too, but I still think there's a learned meme that photographs are more real when they simply are not.
 

Ttownbeast

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Is the notion true then that if I take a picture of somebody and through just the act of taking it (if it is manipulation) I am stealing their soul? Maybe we should put a warning on there for the religiously challenged as well as the mentally challenged.
 

leekohler

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Why do I get a feeling in 20 years time every product I buy is going to have 5,000 disclaimers and warnings on it? :rolleyes:
Because there are too many stupid people in the world. Sorry to be so blunt, but it's true. I'm tired of things like this that do nothing but coddle the stupid.

That photo is clearly fodder for the Photoshop Fail blog—though I saw it originally on BoingBoing—but what about more subtle images?

It's not just photography that gives a false measure of reality, films do it too, but I still think there's a learned meme that photographs are more real when they simply are not.
That doesn't necessitate putting warning labels on photos.
 

hulugu

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Why do I get a feeling in 20 years time every product I buy is going to have 5,000 disclaimers and warnings on it? :rolleyes:
They can just make one: Using this product will probably kill you, therefore the company waves any liabilities stemming from its use or misuse, so help you god.

Because there are too many stupid people in the world. Sorry to be so blunt, but it's true. I'm tired of things like this that do nothing but coddle the stupid.



That doesn't necessitate putting warning labels on photos.
See my first post. I don't think a warning label makes any sense at all, but I do resent that a raw image from a camera, color-corrected photograph rendered from a digital RAW file, subtle smoothing of skin tones and blemishes, and complete fantasies are all called photographs.

The fashion industry creates illustrations, not photographs. I think the terminology would make this more clear without slapping a legalese-ladden banner across every photograph.
 

miloblithe

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Lee, if your big complaint is that the world is full of stupid people, shouldn't educating people be one of your top goals?

As to negative effects, from a public health perspective, I think promoting healthy standards rather than unrealistic standards is a better idea. You seem to despise fat people. Wouldn't the world be a better place if rather than some overweight people giving up because they know they'll never achieve an unrealistic standard, they work to achieve an improvement over their current condition? How do you think we can best achieve that?