Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Distorted Images and Their Affect on Viewers

By: Katie Smoleny

            These articles bring to light that image distortion and censorship can take on many forms and people in the journalism industry are forced to make ethical decisions about it every day. When I think of Photoshop, the first thing that comes into my head is how it is used in the entertainment industry. Anti-Photoshop advocates feel that magazines and retail stores shouldn’t retouch their model’s photos in any way. In a way, I agree. For those of us that know that these images are highly edited, there doesn’t seem to be a point to editing them at all. We know that the images aren’t “real” in the sense that if I saw that celebrity out on the street, they probably wouldn’t look anything like their picture. Then again, the purpose of entertainment magazines and clothing stores is to feature beautiful people. They figure that no one wants to look at a normal “joe-shmo” when they can do that anywhere without having to dish out $5 for a magazine.

I agreed with what Ms. Kennedy of Garden and Sun magazine said about editing to accommodate design and copy. There’s no harm done if you Photoshop out a lamp from a photo in which you are featuring a coffee table. But if you alter the color of the coffee table and people are disappointed when they receive a table that isn’t the color that they saw, that is when it gets sticky.

            The next article I read was about the viral video of the beheading of James Foley. This article was less about altering the image and more about whether it is ethical to remove the video from the Internet in order to protect the emotions of the family. When such a tragedy strikes our nation, everyone becomes obsessed with knowing every detail. I think that since this was a personal attack against our country, Americans have the right to know what is going on.

Whether or not they need to see the actual video is a touchy subject. Curiosity takes over and some people feel that taking the video down is censorship. I would have to agree with them. But since this video was taken against Foley’s will and shows a moment that no family member should every have to see, let alone the entire country, it turns it into a different story. I think that in this particular instance, a still image accompanying a news story or possibly no image at all could do the job. If videos of this nature go viral, ISIS gets exactly what they wanted. It’s important for American’s to know what is going on in their own country, but not at the expense of a person’s free will.

            When it comes to completely altering an image for your own professional gain, it is completely unacceptable. Tampering with photos is a slippery slope that will only lead to the public having to question every image that they see. Journalists will lose their credibility and without credibility, they have nothing. People who falsify photos aren’t doing anyone but themselves a favor.

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