Digital manipulation gone mad…the camera CAN lie!



Take a look at the 2 photos above…

On the right, is the digitally manipulated version of the lady on the left!

Ok, I admit that the one on the right looks very much better than the untouched version, but heck, man….there’s manipulation and there’s manipulation….this example, and there are countless others adorning the hundreds of glossy fashion magazines throughout the world, takes it to the limit….in fact way over the limit.

I know that before digital techniques, photographers used darkroom tricks to spice up some of their shots….that was nothing more than exposing the print to a little more light in some parts, and cutting the exposure to another part of the same shot….dodging and burning to give it it’s trade name. Together with using creative lighting, type of film and camera exposures, those prints were still a realistic impression of the real thing.

But with those techniques, it was nigh on impossible to create an entirely different person from the same shot, as is done nowadays, and as the photo above shows.

This very obviously begs the question…..if you are going to manipulate a shot so much, as in this case, that the end result looks nothing like the original, then why bother at all? Sure, nobody wants to advertise a high-class perfume with a photo of an ugly man or woman, but why not choose your models carefully in the first place, have a good make-up artist work their magic and then shoot the end result.

We all like looking at the glamorous shots of ladies and men in our glossy magazines, but are we looking at the real thing? Most of the time, I fear not!



photo courtesy



About filmcamera999

ME & MY PASSION! ok, you probably looked at the length of this "about me" page and thought, god, what's wrong with this guy!....does he have to start telling us his life story or something!!? well, youve come here now anyways, so why not hear what im like as a person, eh? ive been using film cameras for well over 30 first one being the family yashicamat twin lens! over the years, ive both bought sold and collected film cameras...too many to tell the truth! in fact, ive been buying and selling cameras well before the internet came on the scene, so anything you purchase from me is backed by my self-styled moneyback promise.....if you dont like what youve bought, send it back within 14 days and you get all your money arguments!! WHERE I STAND ON THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION! yes, i do use digital as well, but only as a ready-reckoner...i try and take most shots with my simple 2megapixel digicam....if the shot looks good, i pull out my film camera and shoot! i most defintely do not believe in digital manipulation of photographs....that in my eyes is not photography...its cheating! WHERE I USED TO LIVE, WHERE I AM NOW & WHAT I WOULD LIKE TO DO! i used to live in Ontario, Canada, but moved back to the UK a little while ago (its a long story..!)...but now i'm living in the one place i always wanted to be...Vancouver, BC..the next best thing to paradise on earth! as i work as a freelance writer as well as other things, i often find hat my work takes me to europe for short spells, so i get to travel a lot...not a blessing, as i just hate long flights! im a qualified Quality Assurance guy (you know...ISO 9000, auditing, documentation etc) ....99% of my skill-set is transferable so i can handle any admin or documentation-related roles....see you in BC! otherwise, i specialise in ISO 9000 auditing and documentation. my dream? to have my own thriving camera shop in Vancouver BC, whilst living in the mountains somewhere.....the best of both worlds!
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12 Responses to Digital manipulation gone mad…the camera CAN lie!

  1. I would not seek to disagree with you!
    But – there is a view that we all want to be someone else – so now we can! πŸ˜‰

  2. Ah, the “real” thing is lost, I’m afraid. This technique has been used in moving images as well [movies – video clips etc]. I was very good at photoshoping / retouching / distorting etc which resulted in me getting commissioned by record labels to fix artists photos [as a side job from designing the album cover]. Job consisted of removing pimples, white hair, wrinkles, stains, moles, bad teeth, changing clothes… a very long list. That was 20 years ago! You can imagine how far technology has come since! The same thing happens with music. Functions like: quantize, tune [yes you can tune a voice or an instrument after it was recorded or if it’s a concert and especially when the performer is dancing, it’s done REAL TIME!] and one I really enjoy because of the name: “humanize”!!! Conclusion: we have entered a virtual world a long long time ago. Nothing good about that.

    • wow! i didnt know you even got involved with album cover design etc etc!
      ive sent you an email about that.
      regarding music, im afraid i dont know very much about it, but i well believe you as youve been in it for many yrs…
      as you quite rightly say, we entered into a virtual age many yrs ago…people like me will just have to keep quiet from now on…..!

  3. alfabetaim says:

    It’s not the camera lying – it’s the computer and the guy with the mouse and Adobe CS6 that’s lying like a politician!

    Can the camera lie? With film – using a red filter to take out skin blemishes when using b&w film. Can’t think of any other ways of manipulating the image in-camera… (can you?)

    With digital – cranking up contrast, overexposing, tweaking colour saturation and sharpness… Any other ways of manipulating the image in camera you can think of?

    But in the computer – the only frontier is your imagination!

  4. Derek says:

    My thought is a photograph is supposed to have a degree of truth.
    I don’t care how people like to edit their stuff, that’s there choice, I have no control. But I do care when one seem to confused between a photograph and a photo montage.

  5. Luddy's Lens says:

    Jeez. Stalin woulda loved modern “photography” — eliminate anything that doesn’t conform.

    Before long, fashion photogs won’t even bother with live models, they’ll just use rag dolls and mops and manipulate away!

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