Already, art exhibitions of photography are getting to be more like, “digital paintings inspired by real life” as opposed to actual documentation of a moment in time. With the simplicity of the retouching here, I wonder how it will change our perception of even news photography as a source of proof that a scene actually happened? Changing a tiny detail of a scene can affect its context dramatically–imagine a photo of a person throwing a rock through the air at a policeman with a gun raised in response. Photoshop out the rock and you’re left with a picture of an angry policeman confronting an unarmed man with his arms outstretched.
Already I’ve seen innumerable Photoshops being passed around of famous politicians made to look like they’re wrapping themselves in flags and crosses, prancing around in ridiculous clothes, or giving a Nazi salute…and I’m pretty sure the folks passing the photos around see these not as fakery, but as confirmation of their own notions of what those politicians are really like. Are we sophisticated enough as media consumers to suspect the image was manipulated, and as a result, our emotions are being manipulated as well? I doubt it–and is the alternative to simply disbelieve every image we see unless it’s confirmed by multiple, independent photographers?
It’s going to be an interesting future…