We’ve been talking over the course of the semester about the staging and construction of photographs. I just read an article in the New York Times about the photo-shopping and editing of photos (of celebrities in particular). Here’s a link to the story: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/29/technology/software-to-rate-how-drastically-photos-are-retouched.html?src=me&ref=general. It’s interesting to think about changing the scene presented in the frame before the photo has been taken versus after the fact. I feel as if I’m not seeing the “true” image if it has been altered, yet a similar argument can be made for staged photographs from the Victorian period. For example, how does updating the photo of George Clooney by darkening his eyebrows compare to Julia Margaret Cameron’s portrait of Thomas Carlyle, where the light shines on his face in a particular way and looks possibly chemically altered? The “truth” conveyed somewhat depends on comparing a final image to its original. In the second half of the 19th Century photographers had to be creative with their technology to get their desired effect; now photographers – more so editors in the context of the New York Times article – actually have the technology to achieve the perfect image after it’s been taken.
What do readers think about editing, enhancing, or even supplementing images before as opposed to after the photographic moment? Do the different technological approaches alter the integrity of the image in the same or different ways?