PhotoshopNews.com
Dec 17, 2007

Bah-humbug to a photo-perfect Christmas

“Photoshop” is not just the name of popular software for editing photos; apparently, it can also be used as a verb – as in “we’ll Photoshop that undesirable feature out of the frame” or “we’ll Photoshop that more desirable feature into the frame.”

Source: The ChronicleHerald
Written by Dawn Henwood

As a rule, I don’t, as they said in the 18th century, “paint” my face. Back in the age of powdered wigs and corseted waists, wearing make-up meant powdering one’s cheeks chalky white with an arsenic-containing substance. Even without the chemical analysis, moralists had the good sense to warn against such artificiality.

Such a virtuous stance, however, has nothing to do with my reasons for avoiding Mary Kay. It has everything to do with a lack of hand-eye co-ordination and a lack of time. Even if I had the artistic skill to wield an eyeliner pencil, I don’t know how I’d find an extra five minutes in the morning to use one. Most mornings, I’m lucky to have enough time to rustle up a pair of matching socks.

“Tsk-tsk,” Estée Lauder might chide me. “It’s not that you don’t have time; it’s just that you don’t make time.” And she’d be completely right. I do make time for other things in the morning – reading, writing, eating breakfast, hugging my kids. So I really have no excuse but my own perverse inclination. I’d rather live a full life than a photo-perfect one.

That truth came home to me last week as my family and I underwent various tortured poses in a photographer’s studio. We were there because a group portrait is an artifact my family does value. Since it had been a few years since we’d last had a formal picture taken, I was unaware of how the values of photography had changed. I learned that “Photoshop” is not just the name of popular software for editing photos; apparently, it can also be used as a verb – as in “we’ll Photoshop that undesirable feature out of the frame” or “we’ll Photoshop that more desirable feature into the frame.”

During our studio session, I also picked up on another new verb: “face-swap.” To “face-swap” means to take a face from one picture and superimpose it on the face of another picture. Ideally, the result is a portrait in which all the subjects look their very best. As the photographer clicked through the slide show of the shots she’d taken, I naturally groaned over a squint here and a toothy grin there. The photographer, however, would quickly chirp, “Don’t worry about that. We’ll just find you another face.”

At first, I felt compromised by this suggestion. Photography, I realize, is an art form. It’s never been about complete realism, but rather about how the lens enables us to view reality from different perspectives. Still, isn’t photography supposed to gesture toward realism? No, I said. I didn’t want to be Photoshopped, thank you. I would appear just the way I was when the camera froze me in time.

But I soon caved in to family peer pressure. Everyone else was face-swapping, so I figured I’d better do the same. Why should everyone else in the photo wear Sunday-best clothes while I wore my rumpled, everyday look? In the end, the picture I’ll hang on my wall this Christmas will show me as close to photo-perfect as I’ll ever be.
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