Photoshop: More harm than good?

27 10 2010

Actress Rachel Leigh Cook is more angry at Photoshop than she was at heroin back in 1998.

Cook, most recognizable for her “This Is Your Brain” PSA, spoke out at a recent Washington, DC  sumit on the media and America’s youth.

Hosted by the Creative Coalition and Girl Scouts of America, the DC sumit focused on the idealized projections of women that are (negatively) influencing the self-worth of young girls.  Actress Geena Davis has also took part.

“I did not grow up getting told about how manipulated the images we see of women and girls out there are, and I think it’s an absolute travesty that young women are seeing what the media is feeding them,” Cook said. “It breaks my heart to be part of an industry and part of a machine that really pushes out these images and propagates these really terrible standards that are false.”

Cook, who has consistently worked in film, voice-over, and television since she was 14, pointed out that this problem goes beyond use of photoshop:

 “People need to know that there are actual lenses that are put on cameras that make people stretched out. If you saw these actors in person, you wouldn’t even recognize them as the people you see on TV. It’s just all a complete illusion and maybe it should be viewed as art, the way that art isn’t real. The way that a picture of a rose can be beautiful, but it’s not a real rose.”


Personally, I hate photoshop, but not for (only) the reason that Rachel Leigh Cook highlights. My distaste comes from an artistic angle.

I have a background in photography, and “visual & digital media” has been my concentration while at UAlbany.

I completed a two-year portfolio and two years of college before I ever owned a single application of Photoshop. After having taken Photojournalism (AJRL380) last year when mastery of Photoshop was a necessity, I found myself liking it even less!

“Why don’t we just take a better picture?”  I said over and over, to myself and to my peers.

I don’t feel as though entertainers and models and whomever/whatever else warrants a magazine cover needs much help beyond some airbrushed makeup to look good. 
Usually it is their job to look a certian way, and that way is what they’re famous for.  Silly circle, but it is what it is.

It actually makes me mad when my sisters friends, all between 15 and 18, have better cameras than I do and call themselves “photographers” because they learned how to manipulate contrast or saturation with picnik. The accessability of these programs makes me feel like a child could do the job I want, and therefore I’m wasting time and money on higher education. Could I buy “Photoshop for Dummies” and accomplish the same thing as 4 years of college workshops?




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