Photoshop and Word Processing: Artistic Neighbors
SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) is the college my youngest daughter chose to attend in pursuit of her BA in Photography. She just completed her freshman year. The course of study includes classes in Adobe Photoshop and related products. It’s fun to watch her play around, and amazing how much the digital age has impacted photography. These pics represent some of her early project work.
Ask me what I think of Photoshop and my answer will be mixed. On the one hand, I think it is an awesome tool that provides artistic vision with a wide panorama. On the other, it creates an alternate reality, optical illusions in the most literal sense.
Go to Bing
images and type “Photoshop before and after” in the search field. Scroll through the side-by-side pics. I did, and came away with the notion that nothing online or in a magazine is real, particularly from a portrait standpoint. Celebrities lose wattle, gray hair, eye bags, bellies and bulges all through the magic of digital manipulation.
Even George Clooney is a lot more wrinkled than I thought; but on him wrinkles are actually sexy. Go figure.
And did you know that Victoria’s Secret
models show up in the studio without any makeup at all? The tans, eye makeup, perfect cleavage, ridiculously toned abs—all are added after the photos are taken, a digital sleight-of-hand. I’m not saying they aren’t gorgeous without all that stuff, just that what you see isn’t necessarily what you get.
So, while I have enjoyed my daughter’s Photoshop creations, the idea that so much of what I see in the media has been tweaked annoyed me—until I realized that writing undergoes much the same process.
Think of the rough draft as the untouched photo. Everything shows—whacked lighting, zits, flabby upper arms, back fat—and I’m not just talking about me in a bathing suit. A rough draft is just that. Rough. It requires manipulation to make it the best it can be.
Writers don’t use pixels, we use words. We don’t have Photoshop, we have a word processor. In photography there is digital enhancement, everything from shading, smoothing, coloring, and removing to adding, detailing, softening and sharpening. Writing has plotting, pacing, dialogue, editing, beta reading, proofreading, revising and more to turn the rough draft into a polished story.
So I’m giving the celebrity photos a pass, and Photoshop, too. Because except to snicker and point, no one wants to see the rough draft. We’d rather be impressed with the final product, even if what we’re looking at didn’t start out that way. And if I’m going to throw Photoshop in the trash, then to be fair, my word processor will have to go with it. And that, buttercup, is not happening.
What’s your opinion of Photoshopped celebrities and digitally manipulated photos in general? Do you agree with my analogy of Photoshop and writing or do you see it a different way?
See you next week for the naked truth about . . . getting lucky.
Hope y’all are having a great week!