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 be removed so she’ll be normal is reminded she already is, as is another who asks to be made skinny.
Meanwhile, Fridman’s following continues to grow – nearly 800,000 and counting on Twitter alone. So if there’s maybe something you’d like ‘fixed’, get in line behind these guys: