Adobe Photoshop. Artists use it to express themselves, industries harness the power to warp and manipulate images, and amateurs use it to increase the quality of their work.
Whether you agree or not with photo manipulation, the art of image processing is a force to be reckoned with. Photoshopping can distort reality, add layers to a story (figuratively and literally), and increase the depth of an image.
I grew up on Photoshop, first teaching myself in high school, then taking classes in college on the program.
I’ve watched it create breathtaking art and witnessed its power of illusion first hand. Most notably, image processing software has left a negative impact on the fashion world through retouched photos which alter a models’ and celebrities’ bodies.
As often as media outlets remind us not trust photographers and magazine covers, you really have to see the power of Photoshop to believe it. Then you can decide for yourself just how powerful image processing can be.
Here is a before (untouched) and after (retouched) of a shot I took last night.
While this image is heavily lighted in a studio there were some adjustments added.
The following list entails only a few basic edits:
- The wig cap and model’s real hair peeking through was cloned over with the clone stamp.
- The lipstick line was sharpened and the eyeliner darkened.
- Blemishes and splotchy skin were replaced with smooth skin.
- Highlights were amplified while the colors were saturated.
- Plum and cobalt shades were painted into the clothing and shadows.
The purpose of pulling back the curtain on my editing habits isn’t to whistle blow on my work or other artists work it is to bring awareness to a beautiful art form that has the power, just like anything else, to deceive its viewer.
Art is like a magic show, nothing is quite as it seems. While sometimes the intent is to trick the viewer, other times its meant to enchant them. For art enthusiasts and the general consumer it is beneficial to become educated on the difference between artifice and reality.
Art is a peek into an artist’s perspective of reality. That is what makes it beautiful but that’s also what makes it deadly. So the next time you consider a digital art work think about what you’re consuming otherwise it will consume you.