Every girl should be required to go to a “what photoshop does” class by the time they are 10 years old. Either that, or news publications should be required to either use non-shopped images, or they should at least have to label the things.

I’ve actually done this job… a hell of a long time ago. I must admit that even then it made me sorta sick — and this is coming from a guy who isn’t exactly getting invited to parties by Jessica Valenti or Ann Bartow.

13 Responses to Photoshop

  1. Rogier says:

    Excuse me?

    I’m all for educating girls AND boys on gender stereotypes and body image, as long as it’s left up to parents and maybe teachers. I have already watched the Dove film a couple of times with my six- and nine-year-old daughters (, and we found it instructive and memorable.

    But WTF — “Required to use non-Photoshopped images”?Required by whom? “News publications must be made to LABEL Photoshopped images”? Again, by whom? Please tell me you’re not talking about a government-installed Photoshop police, or else I’m going to have to ask that you turn in your law license — at least if you also still want to be known as Mr Big Shot First Amendment Attorney. Are you truly aligning yourself with the feckless feminists and the fucking French on this one? (see Seems to me you got some ‘splaining to do.

    • Hey, I often wish for things that I know are unconstitutional. There’s nothing wrong with that. You can wish for one thing and fight for its opposite. You just can’t delude yourself into thinking the Constitution agrees with you when you do that.

  2. TvT says:

    I’m with Rogier here.

    Marc, there is enough information out there to help young girls on this topic. Think of it this way, there’s enough info out there on the topic of safe sex but how many young girls get stupid? It’s the parent who makes the difference in a confusing society.

    I agree there’s a level of Photoshop that’s too much especially when I recently noticed a German mag cover which looked odd. It took me a bit before I realized was the female on the cover had pores and fine lines around her eyes. It made me feel better about my skin and I’m pretty confident in mine already.

    From an artist’s perspective, when you’re sitting at that computer screen the image before you isn’t a person. It’s a work of art and as any artist can tell you (and photographers are artists) you get pulled into the piece. I’ve often overdone Photoshop because I thought, oh, one more little nudge. It’s hard pulling back sometimes.

    Further, touchup artists are tied to the demands of the consumer. I’ve gotten some crazy requests from real women wanting to look perfect but when the dollar feeds your family, who cares about their insecurity issues? Media is the problem but media only serves those who create a purpose for media. Plus, an underlying issue few mention is that America has gone crazy and worships Hollywood. It used to be Hollywood entertained. Now we’re obsessed and with their level of competition it floods mainstream views. I think reality tv should be outlawed. I guess that’s not constitutional either, huh?

    Lastly, one has to think about the way we’re learning to use the technology of Photoshop. It’s relatively new. It’s only reasonable that it got out of control because wow, humanity never had a chance to look so perfect! I mean, what would that be like? Now we know. We’ve defied nature. Is that bad though? It’s experimental kind of like sex in college days. Some will get kinkier pushing the boundaries but most will grow out of it and settle back down to a level of reality because ultimately that’s what we best relate to.

    Of course, like anything, responsible use of Photoshop is best but like alcohol, casualties must be expected.

  3. blueollie says:

    This was interesting. But a quick look at “normal” young people reveals that many are not bothered by this; in fact it is obesity that is the far bigger problem.

  4. This is why I hope all of my offspring have a Y chromosome. Though things will get really crazy once we can do plastic surgery at the genetic level.

  5. Brian Washburn says:

    This clip is one of my perennial favorites. Fashion is just one angle of false reality from the media. On one hand, we expect our fictional stories to be some parts make-believe — but even the stuff we think is “real” on camera is often green screen trickery.

  6. Joan Shaffer says:

    While a disclaimer might be well intended, it doesn’t address the larger cultural problem: that images in a hypersexual culture reduce women to body parts.

  7. Mike says:

    That and girls should stop reading stupid people picture magazines.

  8. Justin T. says:

    Well answer us this then Mr. Smart Constitutional Lawyer Man: if we outlaw photoshoppery in images, who is going to make them tittays POP? WHO I ASK YOU?!?

  9. Rogier says:

    I forgot to mention above that, like TvT, I have a dog in this fight: I make my living as a photographer. Disclosure done.

    Now, Marc, I have an offer for you. Or rather, for Mrs. Legal Satyricon.

    I will do a photo session with her — free (a $600 value). All the bells and whistles. I’ll bring my lights to tease out extra detail and definition, and a medium-format camera body that captures every pore with so much precision that when you zoom in a bit, you might think Mrs. Legal Satyricon’s face is adorned with gravel pits. Don’t worry though, I will take care of that in Photoshop.

    After I’m done (in post-processing) brightening eyes, smoothing skin, reducing flab (if any, natch), I will show the both of you the high-resolution BEFORE and AFTER versions. I’ll promise you right now that the latter are going to look really sumptuous.

    The catch is that she has a choice: (a) She doesn’t pay and we agree to publish the unretouched, full-resolution, straight-out-of-camera version to Facebook and Flickr, for all the world to examine… OR (b) she pays me the $600 session fee after all, and we share my lovingly improved version of her portrait with the world instead.

    Which do you think she’d choose? Which of those version would YOU prefer people to see?

  10. Rogier,

    If you wanna see Jennifer in nudie shots, I can just shoot you a few links.

    Now remember, I recognize the First Amendment implications. I’ve sworn my loyalty to the FA, so even when I have personal beliefs and desires that conflict with the FA, I choose the FA.

    I’m not talking about someone who wants to do a portrait of, hell, anyone. But, if I were emperor, I’d certainly require that all news publications and broadcasts must be stocked with unretouched photos. And, anything aimed at young girls should not be allowed to use retouched photos either.

    On the other hand, i wouldn’t give a damn if retouching were used for artistic or aesthetic reasons in your hypothetical.

    Oh, and BTW… we had TVT do a friggin awesome photo shoot of Mrs. Satyricon. It was almost 2 years ago. I am supposed to pick 40 or so of my favorites, and those are supposed to get retouched and then put in a book for me.

    Its been so long and I haven’t decided which ones yet, because any time I sit down to select them out, I select like 500 of them.

    So far, I have seen exactly one of the images retouched. And, its a nice effect, but it does not really improve on the original any.

    So … you’re asking the wrong guy, I suppose.

  11. smurfy says:

    “And, anything aimed at young girls should not be allowed to use retouched photos either. ”

    What about magazines aimed at young boys, like the JC Penny catalog?

    I’d like to see your Miller test for that category. Consider how much flack the oh so tweeny W Magazine got for its shopped cover. Good luck drawing a line that will satisfy photoshop critics.

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