Technology and Beauty

Recently in a photoshop class we were being taught the importance of using photoshop wisely. Part of me was annoyed by the fact that we had to go through the ethical discussion of image manipulation simply because it didn’t seem that important. We were all adults, and unless we were dealing with 13 year-olds who were unable to understand the importance of maturity in a work environment, we didn’t need to hear it. the professor spoke sternly (which seemed out of character from his usual chipper and joking self) to us about the importance of keeping major facial imperfections in photographs (especially when they are noticeable). It seemed like a no brainer.

As we continued on in our discussion our professor showed us this video from the Dove Real Beauty campaign. He then continued on to say that it was important to show reality for what it was, not just because something looks aesthetically correct or beautiful. After watching the short film it became clear, and it is no wonder there are so many women and men in the world who have a twisted view of beauty. What was even more outrageous was the possibility that the campaign it’s self was even photoshopped to make the actors look real but not unattractive (for more info: http://www.stylelist.com/2008/05/08/doves-campaign-for-real-beauty-was-photoshopped/).

Don’t get me wrong, I do not believe that technology is responsible for the staggering number of young people with eating disorders or self mutilation problems (though I’m sure their use doesn’t help). However it does cause one to think about how they use the technology. People tend to forget that technology is meant to be our tool, not vice versa. When a new technology is introduced we tend to feel obligated to put it to use and it is this obligation that causes us to allow technology to control us (or rather can make people obsessed in finding a use). Technology as simple and harmless as photoshop can be used for malicious reasons. It is important for us as users to discern when it’s art, and what is false advertising.

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