I found a very interesting article today on kwerfeldein.de (german): “Where does image editing begin and where does it end?” The entire editorial team discusses the boundaries of image editing, the point at which harmless retouching turns into manipulation. In a time where we build our opinions from photos or assume them for certain ideals or beliefs to a degree not to be underestimated, one inevitably needs to deal with this highly intriguing topic.
How far may editing go? Personally, and this attitude is shared by many editors, I don’t give a hoot one way or the other, to what extent landscape, architecture or macro photographers edit their pictures. Anything that leads to interesting and beautiful results is permitted. It should be up to the artists themselves where to draw the line. It is a different matter, however, if the photography serves higher ends. If I am reliant on pictures to get me informed, I expect happenings to be portrayed as realistically and truthfully as possible. Aesthetic aspects should play a minor part in such cases. Similarly, when pictures have the potential to negatively influence the notion of beauty or the self esteem of countless people. Here, too, a photographer or any other person responsible should ask themselves what they are actually doing. By now, I have learnt to automatically block out cover or promotional pictures that have been altered using Photoshop magic. It is rather companies like Dove that arouse my attention with natural beauty. Is it just me?