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Photoshop Allows Us To Alter Our Memories

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the memory-is-what-you-make-of-it dept.

Graphics 358

Anti-Globalism writes "In an age of digital manipulation, many people believe that snapshots and family photos need no longer stand as a definitive record of what was, but instead, of what they wish it was. It used to be that photographs provided documentary evidence, and there was something sacrosanct about that, said Chris Johnson, a photography professor at California College of the Arts in the Bay Area. If you wanted to remove an ex from an old snapshot, you had to use a Bic pen or pinking shears. But in the digital age, people treat photos like mash-ups in music, combining various elements to form a more pleasing whole. What were doing, Mr. Johnson said, is fulfilling the wish that all of us have to make reality to our liking. And he is no exception. When he photographed a wedding for his girlfriends family in upstate New York a few years ago, he left a space at the end of a big group shot for one member who was unable to attend. They caught up with him months later, snapped a head shot, and Mr. Johnson used Photoshop to paste him into the wedding photo. Now, he said, everyone knows it is phony, but this faked photograph actually created the assumption people kind of remember him as there."

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Ow! My Brain! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24645753)

Now, he said, everyone knows it is phony, but this faked photograph actually created the assumption people kind of remember him as there.

How fascinating I kind of think that this photoshop technique has been around for a long time but I now kind of know more about it thanks to newspaper people over in New York!

meh... (5, Insightful)

Carlos Matesanz (1344447) | more than 6 years ago | (#24645785)

What's the point? PS (or the gimp for that matter) only allows more people to alter photographs, anything you do with software can be done, and has been done many times, in a dark room.
I've had enough of theese "film-was-way-better" guys already.

Re:meh... (5, Insightful)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 6 years ago | (#24645927)

Sure - but it is precisely the difference between it being a highly skilled task, and it being something anyone with a little experience using a graphics package can do, which is significant.

In the same light, you could hail email as being over-hyped since you could perform the same function with regular mail.

Making something a little bit easier can make it a lot more likely to adopted widely, and thus have interesting consequences.

Re:meh... (3, Insightful)

Carlos Matesanz (1344447) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646149)

I didn't mean PS is over-hyped. I love the mere existence of digital photography because that precise reason: it has helped a lot of people approach themselves to photography at levels where you couldn't be twenty years ago not being a pro.
What i mean is that suddenly many old-time photographers point out to retouching as being the evil which will destroy "the essence of photography" when those techniques had been applied for ages.

Re:meh... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24646547)

with conventional retouching techniques, if one kne what to look for, one could tell the image was retouched. As one who spent the better portion of 15 years digitally retouching photos, I can honestly say that there was a time when that was true for digital retouching, but no longer. I have seen images that I know were retouched, I sat in the same room as the person doing the retouching, but if I had not known what was being altered, even I, someone who digitally altered photos myself for a living, would never have been able to tell that the image had been altered. That level of alteration is not common, and its a lot harder than you might think, and no, your average Joe with GIMP is not going to pass off an altered photo to a pro, but with digital manipulation, it is possible for one pro to pass of an image to another pro in the field, and that was not possible with conventional retouching techniques.

Re:meh... (3, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646033)

Yeah, myself and an uncle were both added to a family photo taken around fifteen years ago, using those poor ol' analog techniques. I haven't asked any family members if they actually remember me being there, not that I think it matters either way. I highly doubt only digital manipulation is capable of also altering our memories. Our memories have always been a combination of what is remembered and what we're currently experiencing. If there's any difference, it would be that my family would remember not being able to get the family photo until my uncle and I were in town and able to go to the photographer's, then the added development time.

I think the biggest difference photoshop et. al. make is that they are vastly more accessible than the darkroom. You can do it at home, you don't have to be an expert to do a passable job. Thanks to Photoshop, Moe Szyslak wouldn't have to resort to pasting crude cut-outs of his head onto Homer and Marge's wedding album.

Re:meh... (5, Funny)

poena.dare (306891) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646287)

"I highly doubt only digital manipulation is capable of also altering our memories."

As I will be able to recall many years hence, MemoryShop 2.1 CS Xtreme will have been doing this for a long time now... or so my wife, Morgan Fairchild, assures me.

Re:meh... (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646097)

The fact is if you look at the altered photograph, you still remember reality. The reality you remember may be dark. Dad not in the photo of your birthday party like he promised, but someone added him? You remember, maybe it's worse for having been photoshopped.

Pimple on prom night? You remember.

The only thing that's altered are other people's perceptions of you and yours, and that's a game that is as old as time itself.

Re:meh... (2, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646233)

I keep diaries of my holidays. I'm certain that without the diaries, there's stuff I'd forget that I wanted to remember. I know this because if I write the diary a day late, I already struggle to remember details and have to ask people ("Where was it we had lunch yesterday?").

So what would happen if I put a minor untruth in there - a distortion perhaps? Maybe I wouldn't read it until 10 years later, when I'll forget that I lied, combine my lie with my hazy real memories, and end up remembering the lie as truth.

Re:meh... (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646455)

Your diary is actually contributing to the problem of having to ask people where you had lunch the day before. You've eliminated the need for your short term memory because it's all written down. So now, when you need to actually use your short term memory, it's performance is severely degraded over what it once was. This might even lead to further problems as you age.

Whether you started the diary for enjoyment or due to brain injury or whatever, if you have the ability, you should probably start working on short term memory exercises before it gets too bad. Play "memory" games, get Brain Age, read this: http://www.wikihow.com/Improve-Your-Memory [wikihow.com] and probably this http://www.wikihow.com/Cope-With-Short-Term-Memory-Problems [wikihow.com]

Try to extend the length of time you can go without journaling and still retain the level of detail you desire. Nothing unreasonable, just long enough that you are not hampering your mental abilities.

Layne

Re:meh... (1)

seanonymous (964897) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646265)

Yeah, but it's not going to do you much good to photoshop your ex out of all your photos once they've been uploaded to all your social networking sites and archived across the interwebs.

Re:meh... (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646579)

I think the point is not that it hasn't been done but that it's now so much easier. It used take a certain amount of skill and equipment to pull off. In the film days, it was also easier to spot fakes. These days all it takes is some software and a little skill. As the software advances, even less skill is required and how would you know that the photograph hasn't been altered.

Take for example, the red eye problem. To get rid of red eye almost a decade ago took some work. First, you had to scan in the photo if it wasn't digital and then use professional software like Photoshop. You could do it with MS Paint, but the results were not spectacular. Today, most cameras are digital and you can get free programs like Picasa2 that has a Remove Red Eye function.

In a way, this mirrors the counterfeit money issue. Counterfeiting money used to take printing expertise. Advances in desktop printing have made it easier. This has forced countries to employ different countermeasures like color shifting ink, foils, embedded watermarks, etc. But there is a trade off here. They could develop an almost counterfeit-proof note, but it might be so expensive to make that they could never print enough of them.

Re:meh... (1)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646769)

I think it's more the implications of alterating the past. Check out The Final Cut with Robin Williams. It touches on this subject a bit. Kinda boring movie, but a great premise.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0364343/ [imdb.com]

Anyone remember the early 90s (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24645799)

Halfwit social workers would ask leading questions to children about conclude (?) that there were satanist brainwashing child molesters working at all of the daycare facilities in every country in the industrialized world.

Unperson (5, Insightful)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 6 years ago | (#24645801)

Didn't George Orwell warn us about trying to change our history? I'll keep my photographs as they are, thanks.

Re:Unperson (3, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#24645985)

Didn't George Orwell warn us about trying to change our history? I'll keep my photographs as they are, thanks.

World War III? Well, we know very little about it as records from that era are hazy [pbfcomics.com] and photoshopped.

Re:Unperson (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24646077)

I thought it was Arnold Schwarzenegger [imdb.com] :

Douglas Quaid: Ever heard of Rekall? They sell those fake memories.

Harry: Oh, "Rekall, Rekall, Rekall". You thinking of going there?

Douglas Quaid: I don't know, maybe.

Harry: Well don't. A friend of mine tried one their "special offers", nearly got himself lobotomised.

Douglas Quaid: No shit?

Harry: Don't fuck with your brain, pal. It ain't worth it.

Douglas Quaid: I guess not.

Re:Unperson (4, Interesting)

WinPimp2K (301497) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646145)

Sure, you will keep your photgraphs as they are, but what happens when you see other photographs - perhaps even altered video later that might clearly show something that did not really happen. On of the points was that even the people who "were there" adapt their own memories to match the photograpic "evidence".

Sure you know that Spielberg digitally altered the guns in "E.T." to big honking walkie talkies.
Sure you know that "Han shot first".
You might even remember when Oprah had Ann-Margaret's body.

But those were all pretty high profile examples. Do you really remember if cousin Lynette was at cousin Bill's wedding twelve years ago? There she is in the group shot - and again at the reception. Or to borrow from George O. - make up your own much more sinister example. Perhaps someone who consistently shows up in media footage of fires for example.

Been done before Orwell too (5, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646491)

Look up Damnatio Memoriae sometime. They erased people from public records thousands of years ago, for a range of reasons that included:

- betrayal

- so others wouldn't be tempted to do something heinous just to get popularity (e.g., Herostratus)

- being really hated as an Emperor (e.g., Domitian. Though Caligula and Nero came this close to getting one too.)

- someone not liking the role you've played or the model you'd be for others (E.g., Hatshpsut was almost erased from history as a Pharaoh by her son, but he left her name and images alone where she was depicted/named as anything else than a Pharaoh. E.g., Akhenaten got his name defaced off most monuments after death.)

- some reasons ranging all the way to outright silly (E.g., the abovementioned Akhenaten, the pharaoh formerly known as Amenhotep IV, managed to almost erase his father Amenhotep III from history for the sole reason that the name contained the name of the God Amen/Amon/Amun/whatever-you-call-him. And Akhenaten had just gone rabidly monotheistic, even renaming himself the Servant Of Aten.)

Of course, nobody managed to really erase a Roman Emperor from history, because nobody had the resources for such a herculean task. It didn't stop the Senate from at least trying. And IIRC Hatshepsut was pretty much erased until very recently. It took a while to piece together that she's the missing piece in that chronology.

Dangerous precedent (5, Informative)

pzs (857406) | more than 6 years ago | (#24645877)

This is from the same school of "reality" as those cosmetics commercials where the model has had 6 hours of makeup and artificial eyelashes in order to look like that.

The more we force life to look perfect, the more we'll be disappointed by what we actually get. There is a great Charlie Brooker skit on aspirational television and how believing that we should be as beautiful and stylish as the cast of Friends and Sex and the City is actually making everybody miserable.

I would also say that the bumps of imperfection are an important part of our humanity. Examples:

- Over produced music sounds rubbish because if we can't hear the strumming it doesn't sound like a human being was playing it.

- If you cook Chilli from a recipe it may come out "perfect every time" but it will also get pretty dull.

- A sunny day is a much greater joy in Scotland, where it's a rarity.

Bah, humbug.

Re:Dangerous precedent (3, Insightful)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646113)

Well, the religion of Buddhism is based around the idea that reality is simply a delusion on the grandest scale and once you come to understand that you'll be at peace.

On the same subject, our economy is really based on illusion/delusions at the core of it. Money itself is inteself of non-intrisnic value. Well, to be fair... Even gold isn't really useful at the basic levels by itself. (Warren Buffet once joked why do value something that just gets dug up from a hole only to be buried in another somewhere in a bank.)

It is simply only valuable because everyone agrees it to be so. If no one agreed that your money or gold was valuable then you just have unusable matter sitting there.

In the same aspect, all our social interactions and business dealings are based around perception. TV commercials are the best example of why this works the way it does. If you can make people believe in something, to them it is true.

If you have control of this perception then you can make people do as you please... Which I think 1984 was trying to point out to us. Its not about just rewriting history but the perception of people on reality.

Re:Dangerous precedent (0, Flamebait)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646317)

Not sure where you're going there. Are you suggesting that we just all sit around and drop acid?

I just don't think I handle the '60s again....

Re:Dangerous precedent (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646499)

Well, the religion of Buddhism is based around the idea that reality is simply a delusion on the grandest scale and once you come to understand that you'll be at peace.

Mmmh.. interesting. But I think I'll remain under the delusion that the idea that reality is a delusion is itself a delusion, thank you.

Re:Dangerous precedent (1)

Comboman (895500) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646503)

On the same subject, our economy is really based on illusion/delusions at the core of it. Money itself is inteself of non-intrisnic value. Well, to be fair... Even gold isn't really useful at the basic levels by itself. (Warren Buffet once joked why do value something that just gets dug up from a hole only to be buried in another somewhere in a bank.)

I agree on the money but not the gold. Due to it's unique properties (malleability, ductility, conductivity, etc) gold has utility value, in other words you can use it for things (it's also shiny and pretty). Additionally, it's relatively rare, which increases it's value. Money on the other hand is nether useful nor rare (the government can print as much as it wants). Or, more accurately: the utility and scarcity of money is artificially controlled whereas the utility and scarcity of gold are intrinsic (until someone invents a replicator).

Re:Dangerous precedent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24646163)

The more dangerous precedent is that slashdot keeps posting stories with no evidence to back them up.

No, I didn't read the article, but the story summary makes a claim, and backs it up with a sample of ONE occurance. WTF? And it was just a story by some art school professor.

My my how slashdot keeps turning into evidence, facts, and data free sources like Fox News.

Re:Dangerous precedent (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646391)

This is from the same school of "reality" as those cosmetics commercials where the model has had 6 hours of makeup and artificial eyelashes in order to look like that.

The more we force life to look perfect, the more we'll be disappointed by what we actually get. There is a great Charlie Brooker skit on aspirational television and how believing that we should be as beautiful and stylish as the cast of Friends and Sex and the City is actually making everybody miserable.

I would also say that the bumps of imperfection are an important part of our humanity. Examples:

- Over produced music sounds rubbish because if we can't hear the strumming it doesn't sound like a human being was playing it.

- If you cook Chilli from a recipe it may come out "perfect every time" but it will also get pretty dull.

- A sunny day is a much greater joy in Scotland, where it's a rarity.

Bah, humbug.

6 hours of makeup? Sure, but Photoshop is the main tool used to make models look like they do. I just watched a documentary on the subject a few nights ago.

Re:Dangerous precedent (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646395)

There is a great Charlie Brooker skit on aspirational television and how believing that we should be as beautiful and stylish as the cast of Friends and Sex and the City is actually making everybody miserable.

The cast of Sex and the City is beautiful?? Are you kidding?!?

Re:Dangerous precedent (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646493)

You have to love cosmetic companies. They have managed to convince a hundreds of millions of women that they are ugly without their products! (I personally hate makeup on women). That is some great marketing over the last few generations!

Re:Dangerous precedent (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646643)

This is from the same school of "reality" as those cosmetics commercials where the model has had 6 hours of makeup and artificial eyelashes in order to look like that.

I expect you've seen it, but this is a good illustration of that: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT4dpFpiTgk [youtube.com]

huh??? (5, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#24645913)

You mean I WASN'T Scarlett Johansson's date to last year's Oscars??? Despite the picture I have of it??

Re:huh??? (1)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 6 years ago | (#24645979)

Haha, exactly.

Not so much altering memories, more like story telling which has been around since humans could communicate.

Re:huh??? (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646179)

That two timing whore! I always thought she was MY date to the oscars!

You didn't need photoshop. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24645921)

The Soviets altered photographs several decades ago.

Preempting "Americans do it too!"

It's all great till you don't exist (1)

Lostlander (1219708) | more than 6 years ago | (#24645929)

If this kind of practice becomes common place it wouldn't be long before we start editing people we dislike out of history and ignoring they ever existed. Follow that with a couple decades and people will be erased from media for any number of crimes against the "state".</tinfoilhat>

Re:It's all great till you don't exist (2, Insightful)

pilgrim23 (716938) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646175)

Burning of the Library of Alexandria, the Witch Scare of the middle ages, Shakespeare's re-write of British history in Macbeth...
"I have ancient proof that space aliens wrote the Declaration of Independence, That Howard Hughes wrote a will, that Elvis had a love child with _____ fill in bimbo du jours.. oh and do be careful, the ink's not quite dry"..
Changing our collective memory is nothing new.

Re:It's all great till you don't exist (1)

diskis (221264) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646341)

Already done. [wikipedia.org]

Of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24645931)

I just photoshop a better looking woman over all my girlfriend's pictures.

Flamewar! (2, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#24645953)

OK, let's try and get organized:

Photoshop vs. GIMP here --->

EMACS vs. Vi there ---->

Re:Flamewar! (4, Funny)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646025)

Holy crap... you want me to try and do image editing with EMACS?

Clearly Vi would do a much better job of it ;)

Re:Flamewar! (1)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646261)

No way, man..

Emacs has a console plugin. With the plugin you can launch ImageMagick's convert of morgrify to modify images. Best you can do with vi is a hexed of the image data :)

Re:Flamewar! (1)

Jellybob (597204) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646545)

In spirit of text editor flaming:

:!mogrify -trim ~/input.png

Re:Flamewar! (1)

MrMr (219533) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646385)

What's so strange about that? I hack ppm and eps files for printing, previewing or to modify some colors. Vi is perfectly suited for that.

Re:Flamewar! (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646759)

Holy crap... you want me to try and do image editing with EMACS?

Can't you just install GIMP on EMACS and do your editing that way?

Re:Flamewar! (5, Funny)

Tejin (818001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646135)

So you are proposing a flame war between the emacs/vi people and the PS/GiMP people?

"Our longstanding animosity is longer-standing than your longstanding animosity!"

Why take pictures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24645955)

I'm just gonna go without any photos altogether thank you very much.

If I can't remember it, it's not worth remembering.

In soviet russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24645969)

...they did pretty well without PS

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photo_manipulation#History

Re:In soviet russia... (1)

LordEd (840443) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646339)

Wrong format. In Soviet Russia, Photoshop alters you! I think you're closer to the "In North Korea" format where only old people use photoshop.

There is real psychological truth to this (4, Insightful)

TheLazySci-FiAuthor (1089561) | more than 6 years ago | (#24645973)

http://abcnews.go.com/technology/story?id=98195&page=1 [go.com]

I love to cite this study whenever a decision is being made on the 'memory' of, say, a result - rather than an actual record.

There is another study, which I can't promply locate, in which subjects were shown several colors and then a day or two later, when asked to recall which colors they saw, they picked colors brighter and more saturated than those they had been shown.

This, to me, shows why the 'golden age' phenomenon is so prevalent.

Re:There is real psychological truth to this (1)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646079)

Jebus, what a stupid site. These appear to be the rules:

      1. Women do it = bad
      2. Teamwork = bad
      3. Metric system = bad
      4. Being born not the largest man in the world = bad
      5. Some kinds of judging (as of going out of bounds in track) = good, judging of other kinds (as of going out of bounds in gymnastics) = bad
      6. Using muscles for brute force = good, using muscles for optimized technique = bad

I repeat: what a stupid site. The fact that this is the second time I've seen this crap modded up to +3, Insightful or better in two days does not speak well of Slashdot.

=Smidge=

Re:There is real psychological truth to this (2, Funny)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646399)

This, to me, shows why the 'golden age' phenomenon is so prevalent.

I don't care what you say. Music was objectively better in the 70's... even taking disco into account.

We only record what we want to remember (4, Informative)

Dekortage (697532) | more than 6 years ago | (#24645983)

It's unlikely that you take photographs of every mundane aspect of your life. Some people do it, sure, but those aren't the pictures they want to put into photo albums, flash on their iPods, or hang on their walls. Selective history already plays a role in how we take and keep pictures, so this is just a natural progression of that: keep that photograph, but make it happier.

The Soviet Communists [famouspictures.org] were experts at this. But in Soviet Russia, photos erase you!

my WR marathon time... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24646019)

I have this marathon finish photo - I need someone to change the 3 to a 2 so my memory will be better... :-)

Thanks Taco (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646029)

Wow! Thanks CmdrTaco. I'd never heard of this "Photoshop" thing before. Who knew that you could alter photographs?!?

How Do You You Think We've Succeeded +1 True (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24646035)

in turning the U.S. into the United Gulags of America [whitehouse.org] ?

Alcoholically Yours,
W.

It's all big massive circle. (4, Insightful)

kabocox (199019) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646037)

You know all those ancient statues and such and sculptures made or those paintings by artists? Do you honestly think that everyone generally looked as good as the painting/statues? We've always done this. If anything because, I as the king/rich person would lop off some artist/sculpture's head if they didn't make me look good.

Move forward a few centuries and you've got household publishing with the internet/office apps. I wouldn't lop off the wife's or the kids' heads if they didn't make me look good in the family website or photo album, but we'd all pick the shots and photoshop what we can get away with to look our best. (The wife and kids have been taught what we think is decent taste in picking out photos and better pictures from a set so they should know better than posting poor pics.)

It's sort of like the concept of dressing up for photos. No one ever actually wears that sort of crap. It's only used to make you look as what the current culture set thinks presentable for art/photos/pictures is and that's it. (It's all rented or thrown away after that single use because you'd never wear it again.)

Re:It's all big massive circle. (1)

DangerFace (1315417) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646225)

Umm... You seem to live a very different life to me. Never in my life have I even considered dressing up specifically for a photo in clothes that I will wear once and then throw away, or even just clothes I wouldn't normally wear.

Admittedly, I am a bit of a trollface, and I always look awful in photos, so maybe there is something to this whole 'shallowness' angle you're pushing.

Re:It's all big massive circle. (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646487)

You know all those ancient statues and such and sculptures made or those paintings by artists? Do you honestly think that everyone generally looked as good as the painting/statues? We've always done this. If anything because, I as the king/rich person would lop off some artist/sculpture's head if they didn't make me look good.

Move forward a few centuries and you've got household publishing with the internet/office apps. I wouldn't lop off the wife's or the kids' heads if they didn't make me look good in the family website or photo album, but we'd all pick the shots and photoshop what we can get away with to look our best. (The wife and kids have been taught what we think is decent taste in picking out photos and better pictures from a set so they should know better than posting poor pics.)

It's sort of like the concept of dressing up for photos. No one ever actually wears that sort of crap. It's only used to make you look as what the current culture set thinks presentable for art/photos/pictures is and that's it. (It's all rented or thrown away after that single use because you'd never wear it again.)

Okay...you say that your taught your wife what decent taste is, and you refer to yourself in that sentence as "we." I'm thinking that your reference to kings must be because you are one.

Re:It's all big massive circle. (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646541)

Do you honestly think that everyone generally looked as good as the painting/statues?
Man, I'm scared to think just how ugly Mona Lisa must have actually been in real life!

Speaking of fake (5, Funny)

QuietLagoon (813062) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646039)

this faked photograph actually created the assumption people kind of remember him as there."
.

That sentence kind of creates the assumption of making sense.

Digital vs. analoge photo's (3, Insightful)

JustKidding (591117) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646051)

in a way, digital photography has taken things away from us.

Photo's used to be precious, they carried a real cost (film, development and printing), and because of that, you used to think about what was worth taking a picture of. Today, a cheap memory card will hold hundreds of photo's, and digital cameras are cheaper than decent quality analog camera's have ever been. It's nearly impossible to find a new cellphone without a (crappy) digital camera in it.

Because a digital photo carries practically no cost, people tend to be less thoughtful about what they take pictures of.

Already, I've found myself frustrated and drowning in thousands of mediocre pictures.

These pictures reside everywhere and nowhere; some are uploaded to various websites, others are emailed, yet others exist only on a hard drive and maybe a backup somewhere. The ease and low cost of copying should mean that shouldn't ever get lost, but in reality, they do get lost, hard drives crash, optical disks go bad, or they are just forgotten in a swamp of old files never to be found again.

There is something about a box full of old, fading photographs that digital photo's just can't offer.

And that's just assuming the photo's haven't been altered. With analog photo's, you could be reasonably sure they weren't faked, because it was fairly difficult and time consuming to fake an analog picture. With the digital ones, it gets easier all the time. What's the point of having a photo of something that didn't happen? You might as well watch a movie, that's not real either.

Ofcourse, I understand why a professional photographer would want to change a picture, for artistic reasons, or to remove something ugly from a picture, like a piece of trash in the background of your best wedding photo.

Re:Digital vs. analoge photo's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24646189)


With the digital ones, it gets easier all the time. What's the point of having a photo of something that didn't happen?


Of course, I understand why a professional photographer would want to change a picture, for artistic reasons, or to remove something ugly from a picture, like a piece of trash in the background of your best wedding photo.

But, doesn't getting rid of the bride in wedding pictures contradict your first point?

Re:Digital vs. analoge photo's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24646387)

You're thinking of prints. Print the good digipics and you can put them in the same box as the old ones.

I've got plenty of film prints of my thumb, so don't assume more expensive is better :p

Re:Digital vs. analoge photo's (5, Funny)

dave420 (699308) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646483)

It's a shame apostrophes don't cost money.

Re:Digital vs. analoge photo's (1)

SolarStorm (991940) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646697)

"Photo's used to be precious, they carried a real cost (film, development and printing), and because of that, you used to think about what was worth taking a picture of." Obviously you never met my wife! We have stacks of photo albums documenting my kids history from their first burp to well yesterday. I sure if we ran them with a .25 second delay between frames it would appear like a cheap animation. The problem is not with volume but with organization and storage. I love the digital medium, A little organization, some careful selection, a few digital frames and wow, we are now seeing pictures that would normally sat in a photo album only to be seen at weddings or funerals. It is just a different way of thinking about the photo.

Reality is boring anyway... (3, Funny)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646055)

They promised us moonbases and flying cars, and instead we've got Lolbush's "Mars Tomorrow" scheme and $4.00 a gallon gas. People are living online and in VR, already, because that's the only place you can get a reliable jetpack... and some of the coolest stories on the net are about things like steampunk laptops... so who cares about something as mundane as a reverse-dorian-gray fetish?

Re:Reality is boring anyway... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24646333)

A kindly reminder that $4/gallon is actually one of the more affordable prices in American history, adjusted for inflation, and that you can't expect historically all-time-low prices to stay that way forevers.

Re:Reality is boring anyway... (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646513)

What virtual reality are you living in?

According to this chart [inflationdata.com] it hasn't been over $3.50 in 2008 dollars since 1918.

creepy... (5, Interesting)

inerlogic (695302) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646069)

I'm a photographer and i had a bride ask me if i could photoshop her father into one of the shots.... only problem.... he died 3 weeks before the wedding. i did it, and it looks good... but it's creepy as hell.

Does it matter? (2, Interesting)

digitalhermit (113459) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646085)

I once believed that history can never be changed. We could make changes in the future, but the past was set in stone. The last person I thought would disagree with this was a history professor. But sure enough, my college history professor explains to the class that history is always changing. Whoever interprets the "records" makes the history.

Ask most 30- and 40-something guys what their high school or college was like and it's almost certain to be different from the reality. We remember what we want. We interpret how we want. The story of the three blind men and the elephant is an old take on this.

Already done (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646091)

Already being done. In fact, there is a commercial (for Dell, I think) where this guy takes a bunch of photos with his girlfriend, then cuts her out of all of the shots, and inserts another girl.

Re:Already done (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646413)

Does he insert another girl into the pictures? I thought the idea was that he cropped his old girlfriend out, and then it's showing pictures he really did take with his new girlfriend.

If he's just cropping his old girlfriend out, then it's the same thing people have been doing for a hundred years with a pair of scissors.

On the flip side (1)

Kid Zero (4866) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646129)

... in 30 years they'll be passing the photo around asking "Who are these people? When was this taken? Why do I have this?"

Kids and pets demand photoshop (2, Interesting)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646139)

Last year one of the grandparents wanted to get all of the grand kids and the pets into a single photo. This is 7 kids under the age of 7, 4 cats and 3 dogs (combined weight of the dogs is around 300lbs, big dogs). They didn't want the adults in the photo just the pets and kids.

Without photoshop that picture wouldn't exist. First of all the cats don't like being held for more than 20 seconds and the kids won't stop falling on the dogs and cuddling them, secondly there is a boy in the mix who appears to be a source of near infinite energy. The video of the photoshoot is hilarious as we try and get them all in one place. In the end after over 300 pictures with around 20 nearly there shots I hit photoshop and created a composite image that looked superb in around 20 minutes.

That doesn't change my memory of the event (people are weird if they start creating a fantasy world) but it does mean there is now a decent picture on the wall. There is a line here between doctoring to create a potential reality and doctoring to create a fantasy. People in the later camp are looking over the wall at the looney bin.

Re:Kids and pets demand photoshop (1)

Permutation Citizen (1306083) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646665)

This story makes me wonder... Kid equals Pet ?

Everything old is new again. (5, Insightful)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646147)

I think it's actually interesting to note that this trend of altering photographs actually has deeper roots.

Think about portrait paintings that were all the rage for many hundreds of years before cameras were invented. The portraits were not usually exact recreations of what the painter saw. Usually, the subject was altered slightly to make them look 'better' (more conforming to the beauty ideals of the time period). The person was usually given clothes, jewelery, and surroundings that were prettier than reality (possibly more extravagant than they could really afford). These portraits were not really meant to capture reality: they were meant as a statement (usually "look how important I am", but perhaps also "this is what's meaningful/important to us").

Old photographs were mostly "staged" (especially really old ones where people had to hold still for them), so it's not like they were faithful reflections of reality, either.

Digitally altered images are similar. People are altering the photos to capture something. Not reality. But rather a statement they want to make, like "look how much fun that day was" or "look how beautiful I am" or "look how much I love you" or whatever.

I'm not going to pass a value judgment on whether this trend is "good" or "bad". Rather I will note a few things:
1. As computer power increases, automated "adjustment" of photos is likely to become more common. (Everything from relatively benign red-eye-removal and HDR [wikipedia.org] tweaking, to more drastic things like automatically making people look prettier [slashdot.org] .)
2. It may be that only for a thin slice of history were the majority of photos "real"--in the time period where photography was fast and cheap enough to snap "candid shots" but before photo-manipulation was fast and cheap enough to alter them.
3. Despite all this modification, I'm sure plenty of "real" photos will remain--journalists, historians, and even normal folk will still be inclined to archive unmodified pictures. Especially with storage costs dropping, keeping the raw image files (before manipulation) will likely continue. In fact I would hope that future image formats would maintain an internal undo history, where the original photo-data remains.

Re:Everything old is new again. (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646401)

relatively benign red-eye-removal

Relatively benign? The red-eye is only there because of the camera flash; I'd say that removing it is making the photograph closer to reality, in that it more accurately reflects the scene as it actually was.

Re:Everything old is new again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24646443)

I agree, and for my own images, I always keep the originals and the composite is noted as such.

I think it has to do with wall space too. My kids almost never both look at the camera, or even toward the camera at the same time. For flipping pictures, there is a story, so I keep them all. For putting it on the wall, I want to see their faces without needing to look at several images.

First Post (1)

JTAL604622 (1346797) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646165)

Holy Cow, Finally my first post...hope I dont lose my password or it could be my last.

This has long been the case (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24646177)

Personal "photographic records" have always told a more perfect story.

For one, how many of us photograph our dreary work lives? From looking at my photo album, one would think I do nothing but roam the exotic corners of the Earth. (Which is not the case, I assure you).

Furthermore, I personally toss out the photos in which I'm looking stupid, drooling, spilling my beer on myself or caught ogling cleavage. So the "photographic record" of myself has always been some shiny, respectable version of reality.

We humans love to represent reality with a positive spin. It's what we do. It's the same reason we wear clothes.

Move along. Nothing new here.

I call BS (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646199)

It's a lie ! A lie !
Those pictures of me and Salma Hayek REALLY HAPPENED !!!!

*sob*

Another method (1)

Todd Fisher (680265) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646201)

I use alcohol to alter (or destroy) my memories.

alter your ex out of your life (1)

josepha48 (13953) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646217)

Photoshop allows you to digitally take all your exes out of your photos and never have to see them again, unless you run into them on the street. My luck I would too, and have!

Re:alter your ex out of your life (1)

Nushio (951488) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646663)

I took all the exes out of my life when I switched to Linux :-)

Photoshop is not a verb (1, Flamebait)

HomerJ (11142) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646269)

Proper use of the Photoshop trademark

Trademarks help protect corporate and product identity, and Photoshop is one of Adobe's most valuable trademarks. By following the below guidelines, you can help Adobe protect the Photoshop brand name.

The Photoshop trademark must never be used as a common verb or as a noun. The Photoshop trademark should always be capitalized and should never be used in possessive form, or as a slang term. It should be used as an adjective to describe the product, and should never be used in abbreviated form. The following examples illustrate these rules:

Trademarks are not verbs.

CORRECT: The image was enhanced using Adobe® Photoshop® software.
INCORRECT: The image was photoshopped.

Trademarks are not nouns.

CORRECT: The image pokes fun at the Senator.
INCORRECT: The photoshop pokes fun at the Senator.

Always capitalize and use trademarks in their correct form.

CORRECT: The image was enhanced with Adobe® Photoshop® Elements software.
INCORRECT: The image was photoshopped.
INCORRECT: The image was Photoshopped.
INCORRECT: The image was Adobe® Photoshopped.

Trademarks must never be used as slang terms.

CORRECT: Those who use Adobe® Photoshop® software to manipulate images as a hobby see their work as an art form.
INCORRECT: A photoshopper sees his hobby as an art form. INCORRECT: My hobby is photoshopping.

Trademarks must never be used in possessive form.

CORRECT: The new features in Adobe® Photoshop® software are impressive.
INCORRECT: Photoshop's features are impressive.

Trademarks are proper adjectives and should be followed by the generic terms they describe.

CORRECT: The image was manipulated using Adobe® Photoshop® software.
INCORRECT: The image was manipulated using Photoshop.

Trademarks must never be abbreviated.

CORRECT: Take a look at the new features in Adobe® Photoshop® software.
INCORRECT: Take a look at the new features in PS.

The trademark owner should be identified whenever possible.

Adobe and Photoshop are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.

For more information on the proper use of Adobe's trademarks, please refer to the general trademark guidelines.

Re:Photoshop is not a verb (1)

MagdJTK (1275470) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646331)

Tell that to Google, Hoover, Speedo, Biro, Frisbee, etc.

Re:Photoshop is not a verb (3, Funny)

dat cwazy wabbit (1147827) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646673)

>> By following the below guidelines, you can help Adobe protect the Photoshop brand name.

I woke up just this morning wondering how I could do this. Thanks!

Re:Photoshop is not a verb (5, Funny)

Nushio (951488) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646699)

Photoshop is not a verb

I know! Thats why I've been gimping stuff for the past few years.

Tell Joseph Stallin (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646275)

I'm sure he'll be fascinated by this discovery.

Michael Scott and PhotoShop (1)

norminator (784674) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646283)

It's a bold move to photoshop yourself into a picture with your girlfriend and her kids on a ski trip with their real father. But then again, Michael is a bold guy. Is bold the right word? --Jim Halpert

OT: Slashdot not loading properly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24646285)

Anyone else having problems with slashdot main page not loading. For me the page shows and then goes blank with transferring data from core.insightexpressai.com in the taskbar. This is with Firefox 3.0 on XP

wrong assumption (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646303)

there is an assumption in the story synopsis that photo manipulation is somehow new

read this engrossing blog by errol morris at the nyt [nytimes.com] , it's an extremely anal retentive take on photo manipulation throughout the ages

his investigation of manipulation of the placement of cannon balls in a photo from the crimean war- yes, the crimean war, that far back, is thoroughly engrossing if you are mentally predisposed to highly detailed anal retentive visual forensics

for everyone else, the shocking historically manipulated propaganda photos are worth the visit

how is this news? (2, Insightful)

owlnation (858981) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646309)

People have been doing this since the beginning of photography. In fact people have probably been doing it since the beginning of the concept of the recorded image. I wouldn't be surprised if Uncle Ugg was edited out of cave paintings.

The technology is different sure, but Photoshop has had the ability to do this for years.

THIS IS NOT, IN ANY WAY, NEWS.

Slashdot gets more and more like Digg every day. Please, please stop this trend.

Film (1)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646405)

I'm starting to wonder. I was one of the last holdouts for buying a digital camera, and what finally pushed me over the edge was needing to take pictures of products I sell on the Web. I picked a mid-range "point and shoot" and have had trouble with the color fidelity from the outset. The only salvation has been to use Photoshop's "white point" or sometimes "gray point" to alter each shot. All this despite careful color and lighting setups both on the computer (a Mac) and in the actual shots.

This summer, I had the opportunity to spend a few days in Paris--certainly an occasion for taking lots of pictures. The digital went along. To my disgust, every shot I took--indoors and outdoors--had an indigo blue cast, fortunately correctable with Photoshop's color balance.

After a long and tedious process of adding a dash of yellow to each shot, I have come to two conclusions:
1) I need to shell out for a digital SLR. That's a whack of cash and a lot more camera than I need, but I'm tired of messing with this expensive toy.
2) I'm thinking with great nostalgia of my now-unused Minolta film camera. While I won't use it for products, it's likely to ride along on the next trip I take.

Fuck... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24646411)

Several years down the road... (1)

starglider29a (719559) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646615)

Two friends who were at the wedding will bicker over the photographs, as to whether JimBob was Photochopped IN or OUT! And the problem is that their memory will not help them.

On the other hand, JimBob will be able to take the blame for 'that one incident' with the Bridesmaid.

How is this different then the rest of history. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646645)

Even before Photoshop there was ways of taking pictures that distorted our perceptions of what happened. Even down to the simplest part of Photography when taking a picture you ask everyone to smile... All the people could be in a miserable mood however they don't want to remember that so they all smile for the picture and when they look at in in a few years they will look happy and remember the event as happy. Also for other pictures they just zoom and angle the shot to give the impression they want. I could take a picture of my 6x9 cube. and make it look like I am in a 10x10 office just by getting the picture angled correctly. Or taking a picture slightly out of focus to give the person a slight aura around them to make them look more angelic. Now this being said... Photos have been around only for 150 years or so. So before that they used artiest to record images of what happened and they had even more artistic leway to portray what happened.

three words... (0, Troll)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646653)

Moon Landing 1969. Fakes are nothing new.

Not New Science (2, Insightful)

penguin_dance (536599) | more than 6 years ago | (#24646687)

Actually this isn't new. Doctors have found that it's fairly easy to manipulate memories with photos [findcounseling.com] and there is the development of drugs [go.com] used to treat PTSD and other victims to erase or lessen traumatic memories.

What was scary was, a few years back, I saw on TV where they took a classroom of kids, made up a scenario--soon the kids believed that scenario happened to them personally.

I have a big problem with this science. While I understand wanting to help victims that might become suicidal, I have a problem with manipulating someone's memory just as I would shooting them up with mind-numbing drugs so they don't feel anything. I think working through the incident would make you far more stronger than taking a pill to blank it out.

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