week 04

Open Work Session – Finish Concept Word Project, versions 1 & 2

Concept Word Critiques

Review of Material Covered in Week 03

Photoshop Intermediate: Blending modes. Gamma and Color adjustments with adjustment layers, Retouching (see Week 03 Work files)

Open Workshop: Begin working on your Celebrity Composite Project – *Doc dimensions: 8 x 6 inches, 2400 x 1800 pixels, 300 ppi

Work on two versions: your first version will be your draft. The final version (due next week) should be realistic and look as if you are really interacting with the celebrity. Save these assignments as (lastName)_CelebCompos_v1.psd and …._v2.psd (ex. Smith_CelebCompos_v1.psd & Smith_CelebCompos_v2.psd)

Homework wk04: Read “The Politics of the Retouched Headshot” http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200810u/photo-retouching, “Designers of 2015 Trends” http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm/designer-of-2015-trends and “Vector Graphics” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vector_graphics . Before class next week, in 50 words or less, comment on this reading on our class blog in Week Four.

**AND apologies for the incorrect link last week to the reading. The correct link to the wikipedia entry is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Work_of_Art_in_the_Age_of_Mechanical_Reproduction

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19 Responses to week 04

  1. Roy Weiss says:

    This topic is very interesting in that, it really underlines the power of photographers and designers to portray people however they like. The skillful play of light and angles and shadows are all tools for the artist to consider and utilize in his/her piece. The artist is capable of expressing subtle and almost subliminal messages through the angles they choose, etc. Now in this current day and age the use of photoshop has further expanded the tools palette. At the of the day, as the article states, “Every portrait is inherently false: a static, two-dimensional representation of an ever-changing, three-dimensional face”

  2. Mary-Margaret Callahan says:

    It is interesting to observe the increasing power of the artist/designer to influence & exert control over public opinion/belief by the manipulation of their images. Millions of people can be swayed to a idea, belief, or story by the subtle manipulations of an image or film. Moving forward, it will become increasingly important for designers to study society/cultures, politics, and economies in order to make their message relevant for the world audience as opposed to the past when focus was on their own particular culture. A image or facial expression can mean something wildly different from one society to another thereby losing or misconstruing (sic?) the intended message. It seems as though the role/responsibility of artist/designer will be going through another transformation over the next decade.

  3. Ann Briody says:

    In my opinion there is one word that can put the controversy of the retouched image to rest … “context.” Context dictates how any retouched image is used. If an image is retouched and that image is used as a source of fact, then that is a misuse of retouching. On the other hand, if an image is used in an artistic, commercial or fashion like way, then the term “suspension of disbelief” applies. Given, there is no true law of what is and is not believable, but in the world of image, there is no such thing as black and white. Retouching is strictly about presentation. As long as one does not choose to use retouching in a fact based format, then the rules of art apply, and as an artist myself, the world of art can never be restricted to any sort of rule. Otherwise, art as we know it would cease to exist.

  4. Andrea Mariano says:

    I remember seeing the Newsweek cover with Sarah Palin and immediately realizing it had to be a political statement being made because every magazine photo today is ‘photoshopped’ in some way to render a more likeable image. The editor knew the importance of Palin’s appearance as a public figure and chose to leave the image that way. Its impossible to think it could have passed through several levels of approval and overlooked. Although the article states that no photograph represents a subject’s true form, there is nothing wrong with retouching to clean up an image so long as it doesn’t change the image so drastically that the subject is no longer recognizable.

  5. Yuko Miki says:

    This article speaks at multiple levels about the issue of veracity in photography and portraiture. I think the last quote about Caterina de’ Medici’s portrait is misleading however, for Renaissance portraits were commissioned BY the wealthy in order to present specific ideas of their erudition, wealth, power, etc. The artist was the servant of the patron. In the case of photography, the photographer and the photo editor have much more “control” over the choice of the image, although the goal of convincing the audience of a certain idea remains the same. It is, without words, a very aggressive way of selling an idea. I think that as we are trained to perform textual analysis, we also need to be more aware about the need for critical visual analysis.
    Re: Women and Celebrity retouching, there was also a recent Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/28/fashion/28RETOUCH.html

  6. tuyen says:

    The article was quite interesting– along with the controversy that comes along w/the retouching of photographs nowadays– bit funny actually. The retouching of photos was probably originally done to improve the look of a photo and put the person or subject matter in their best light. But nowadays when photo retouching is a common thing where even a house-mom can do it to her own child’s photo using a basic retouching program and the technology itself has improved– its not surprising that its hit the dark side. Photos are manipulated to make the young look old and the thin look fat, invented to put someone where they’ve never been or shouldn’t be and vise-versa. And its because of this and a person’s need to show their take on a subject or person that such instances and controversies happen. I guess until my own photo is manipulated and put in a magazine– the topic is still quite amusing.

  7. jamie says:

    I looked up the Newsweek cover after reading the article. Although Palin looks like a “real” person, it clearly does not meet the standards associated with a national magazine cover. Both the subject and the consumer expect covers to look flawless because photoshop has allowed us to produce “perfect” images. The controversy over the Newsweek cover demonstrates just how effective photoshop can be in manipulating the way people are portrayed and perceived.

  8. Alexandra Corhan says:

    I feel very strongly about the levels of photoshopping and retouching that are being used right now. I think there were ulterior motives at work in the Palin situation, but generally, the rationale behind retouching is ridiculous. Gwyneth Paltrow was on the cover of Vogue last fall, and I had to do a double taken when I saw the cover. She didn’t look like herself; she looked like an alien version of herself. I don’t understand why the retouch job was so extreme. Was it her decision, or Anna Wintour’s? I think general retouching is fine- taking out cellulite, unsightly wrinkles, blemishes, etc. (unless you’re Gorbachaev!), but sometimes it just goes over the top. I know everyone wants to look as good as possible all of the time, but I think you have to draw a line when the person becomes unrecognizable.

  9. Ryan says:

    Jill Greenberg; Artist vs. Professional-

    So I got a little hung up on this part of the reading. My first reaction to this circumstance was that Jill needed to grow up. I hated McCain and his campaign too, but do the job you are hired to do. She put her personal feelings and artistic needs ahead of her professionalism. This is a dilemma that I don’t think is so cut and dry upon reflection. Jill made a choice, and to her, her artistic needs outweighed the professional implications and repercussions of betraying the trust of a client. Jill’s mentality has proven to be one of the most valuable when it comes to artistic expression. Its a battle that rages inside me and I’m sure every professional artist everyday, marketable and professional mentality VS. true to myself. Maybe its time the paradigm that has cornered the commercial medium is seriously challenged.

  10. Yu Okuzono says:

    The issue in the Palin article is the photographer’s intention and the viewer who do not feel comfortable with the message the image conveys.
    However, this article also makes clear that once the image is altered in some way it becomes an opinion.
    Photography used to be a media where it could be trusted.
    There have been images that were retouched even before photoshop but it was very difficult to do in the past.
    Now days because of software such as photoshop some times viewer would have to doubt the image.
    In this article it shows that the fact that the image could be altered easily is becoming a common knowledge, and any individual can choose to have desirable image created for themselves.

  11. Laura Trimble says:

    It is interesting to consider one timeless mode of headshot image control not mentioned in the Atlantic article that women have used for centuries – make-up. What is the difference between Photoshop and a good stick of cover-up for under the eye bags and blemishes for a woman who normally wears make-up? Additionally, it’s a valid point that Photoshop could be akin to a time before photography when painters idealized portraits. In terms of celebrity image control, it’s interesting to consider that in a time prior to high speed communication and travel, a ruler might have had only a couple official portraits and limited appearances with the general populace. They could have been painted much younger or thinner and gotten away with it. These days, with tabloids and the internet it is impossible to control every image, and with TV and more live appearances, re-touching can only go so far before it is proven blatantly false.

  12. Lawrence Jung says:

    In the article ” The Politics of the Retouched Headshot” it does bring up a great point about retouching photos. I believe that beauty has this attractive aurora that makes people drawn to it like a fly to a light. Not many people are willing to purchase something that is not visually attractive. Another good point towards the end of the article is about photography. All photographs should be neutral and digital editing will be the option to change the tone of the photo. It is not right to make people look horrible through just one photograph. This is more of a moral issue. This idea can be tied to the article of “Designer of 2015 trends.”

  13. Nicole says:

    After the reading this article, I completely agree with Laura. Photoshop and retouching in today’s photographs is simply the current artistic medium of depicting a portrait – an idealized portrait. As far back as ancient Greek sculptures with perfectly proportional figures and chiseled muscles, portraiture has been used as propaganda. Women were painted with smooth curves men with harsh angles. Whereas paint was used to sway the public image then, digital retouching is used now. One of the first publicly recognized photographs, “Sarah Bernhardt” by Nadar in 1857, was a depiction of a beautiful female celebrity. Then, photographs were just starting to be seen as “art”; they were a novelty because they were a “truer” or “realer” image than a naturalistic painting. However, nowadays when photographers are almost undeniably considered artists, the artist has the right (and is usually encouraged) to manipulate his/her artwork to make it more original. So why should is be any different with a photographer’s image of, say, Sarah Palin, on the cover of a magazine? The photographer always receives credit for his/her work, letting the public know that this is art, not true reality. (Unless it is the artist’s intention) there is, and SHOULD be, a difference between reality and art.

  14. Larry says:

    We are constantly evaluating others based upon appearance. It’s human nature. To that end I would agree that subjects demand a realistic & attractive portrait. However, a photographer can portray his subject anyway he chooses. He has access to a vast toolbox that can dramatically alter the final product. Some editing seems acceptable to remove minor distractions, but to over-edit or ambush a subject into an unflattering snapshot is unacceptable. What is acceptable must depend on the specific circumstances.

  15. caroleicher says:

    I experienced many of these issues this week in working with photographs of myself!

    In a non-news situations, the photographer and subject usually have a unified goal in portraying the subject in the best way possible under the circumstances. In a single candid shot, the chances are slim that the subject will be captured in the right pose, with the right expression. However, the photographer makes editorial decisions about the composition, the timing of the shot, camera angles, focus, and even the number of shots to choose from. The subject’s idea of an acceptable result may differ greatly from the photographer’s – due to the subject’s idea of themselves and how they want to be portrayed.

    In a staged setting, the photographer has more control over the light, background, and often wardrobe styling, hair and makeup. Even then, those who are not genetically gifted (ie, models) may need help if they want a result that will “represent” them. When digital manipulation is used to finish the editorial decisions, it’s another step in the process for this genre of photography.

    For photographs that are represented as photo-journalism, any editorial manipulation beyond what is composed in the camera (and perhaps what is cropped from the frame plus color correction necessary for display) is excessive. Even though there are other ways to mislead, digital manipulation seems to cross the line ethically.

  16. Rachel says:

    I agree with both Laura and Nicole. Retouching a person’s appearance has been around for centuries in one form or another. I don’t look at a photo of someone and assume it is that person in the “real” or “true” form. I think photo retouching today plays a part of the bigger issue which is our society’s obsession with looking perfect. I think it is interesting that there was backlash with leaving Sarah Palin’s photograph less than perfect and what it says about our society as a whole. However, I do believe this was a political tactic to support the image Palin was trying to portray that she was “just like the average American”. When it comes to photographs today, I don’t think there are many that display a true or real form because as a society we are drawn towards things that are artificially perfect.

  17. Karina Vogt says:

    I think we’ve all heard the quote “a photo doesn’t lie”, but a photo captures a one dimensional moment that is rarely how I saw it through the lense.Images can be manipulated so much by the current technology that they have become
    imaginary illusions . The argument about retouching photos is part of our highly processing society, in which I believe, we risk over-refined and altered versions of what was there.

  18. Greetings Again Ms. Gannis (and classmates!).A bit late chiming in here as I have been remiss with these posts. When judging or contemplating the quality of pics used for public figures in magazines I think the first thing that comes to my mind is the consistency of the periodical over time with regards to how it handles its pics. In my experience auditioning, the everyday actor’s headshot (for audition purposes) should not have much artifice and should represent you looking at your “normal best” (healthy, care taken with complexion, etc.). Too much make-up or retouching will defeat the purpose and then you will be left with a shot that might be good for marketing purposes but that will make you look unprofessional in the eyes of your garden variety NYC casting director…so it goes…

  19. Daniel Kimball says:

    As children we are exposed to imagery around us which develops our sense of judgment about what is attractive or not. We are all conditioned in this respect.Beauty magazines help influence both men and women to distinguish a desirable person from one who is undesirable. I am reminded by the many disney movies that I have seen throughout my life that villans have mustaches. If a person has a mustache they are either a police officer or they are a criminal. i have learned from magazines that I am looking for a woman who has no blemishes, and an impossible figure.

    There is an opposing view however. I have learned this in studying “wabi-sabi” a japanese philosophy, which actually looks at “flaws” or “blemishes” as the things which make us each unique and individual. I mean if we were all “perfect” and all looked the same, no one would really be that interesting to look at.

    I personally have a pretty expressive face, and when I get my picture taken,I never know what I’m going to look like, but that’s what makes me my perfectly imperfect self I guess.

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