This Photoshop Expert Hilariously Skewers our Social Media Madness

Plenty has been written about the slippery slope side of Photoshop — how its use in fashion and advertising promotes unrealistic body images, how it messes with truth curves along with tonal curves. We’ve even contributed a few lines to the canon. But Photoshop (Wizard? Troll? Gadfly? Artist?) James Fridman has done us all one better with his ongoing social media series, run from his site, Facebook page, and Twitter account. Followers send in pictures with requests for Photoshop enhancements, and Fridman responds in careful-what-you-wish-for fairy tale fashion: granting the wish, but with unexpected – and usually hilarious – results. But as lowbrow as the humor can get (‘make my boobs really big’, for instance, yields something with steel cables and a construction crane, you get the picture), Fridman’s work has the hold-up-a-mirror-to-society edge of legit satire. The underlying theme: this currency of digital imagery we all trade in now has created some serious narcissism, and it needs some gentle mocking to keep it in perspective. Emphasis on gentle, though: Fridman’s series implicitly undermines the dishonesty of Photoshopped images, but it’s never mean, and includes the occasional dose of almost parental reality checking. A woman who asks that her Vitiligo… Continue reading This Photoshop Expert Hilariously Skewers our Social Media Madness

In These Sly Photo Mashups, Gods and Angels Take the Bus

People who do a lot of thinking about the creative process have described it as the alchemical ability to take seemingly unrelated things and turn them into something new. When you can’t see the seams, the results feel fresh; when you can see the seams – like in mashups – the results feel simultaneously new, sly, and knowing. The work winks at you. The Art History in Contemporary Life series winks at you like that. Ukrainian artist Alexey Kondakov’s ongoing digital collage project takes the gods, seraphim, and mythic critters of classical master paintings out of the museums, and puts them into modern-day urban Kiev. There’s Apollo, busking on the subway platform. There’s Diana, grabbing a Red Bull at the convenience shop. Are these divine creatures brought low, or is the gritty environment elevated? Either way, this is magical realism at its best. Images via deMilked and Contemporary Art Curator Magazine  

It Took Nearly 10,000 Photos to Make Just One of These Images

In 2006, Danish photojournalist Peter Funch set up his tripod on a Manhattan street corner and started photographing people going about their day. One scene he captured showed someone reading, someone on the phone, and someone smoking. Not particularly interesting. But wouldn’t it be great, Funch would later tell an interviewer, if everyone in the shot was smoking? And so was born his Babel Tales series: 40 composited panoramic images of curated, synchronous moments (including one where everyone is smoking) that took five years to produce. As with other photographers we’ve featured that play with concepts of time, Funch’s series was incredibly labor intensive. After choosing a promising location, he’d shoot for three to five days, then decide if he’d continue. If he did, he’d shoot another five to ten days, producing between 1,000 to 10,000 images for the final composite. “Composing the images is a lot like painting where you build up the images and keep looking at it again and again. For me, this is where photography is heading, less of a method of passive documentation and more of a means to produce images.” –Peter Funch Funch chose wide aspect ratios for several reasons, all of them relating… Continue reading It Took Nearly 10,000 Photos to Make Just One of These Images

Ethics in the Age of Photoshop

Photography lies. Yet somehow, we tend to trust the images we see. Our expectation seems to be that every photo is an exact record of what was in front of the lens at that moment in time. The problem is, there’s no way of really knowing what we see in a photograph reflects reality. Even when we know the image is altered, we still believe the lie. It’s important to note digital imaging didn’t create this problem. The entire history of photography is replete with examples of its suspicious relationship with truth. The 1917 Cottingley Fairies were a photographic hoax declared to be genuine. Numerous photos of UFOs, Nessie, and Bigfoot have played with our imaginations. But those are more fun than truly believable. The worst offenders are the ones we don’t suspect until it’s too late. I have childhood memories of buyer’s remorse over toys that didn’t look as cool as they did in the TV commercials. Does your Big Mac look like the one on the illuminated menu? Photographs have let us down in the truth department on a regular basis, yet we still fall for them far too many times. I’ve heard a few explanations for our misplaced… Continue reading Ethics in the Age of Photoshop