Category Archives: Technology

You Better WORK!: New Application Shows When Photos Have Been Altered

Striving to look like the model on the cover of Cosmo may just be more achievable than you think! With one simple click, we have seen the magic of Photoshop create seamless beauty in less than a minute. This program can do many wonders, from removing blemishes, smoothing out skin complexion, or adding a sun-kissed glow. But now, more than ever models are shedding 10-20 pounds right before our eyes. This monster of a program has single handedly given the self-conscious market an unknowing boost in the wrong direction.

As discussed in Class, we have pondered the question of, “what happens if technology takes over?” and to be completely honest, I think that ship has sailed.

There always has been an issue with young girls and boys regarding the top models and imitating them to their best potential. However, now with Photoshop it creates the illusion that these “celebrities” are in fact at some unattainable level of perfection that no one dare compete. Photoshop gives amateurs the upper hand in this; pretty much anyone with the application is more than welcome to alter their own photos as well. However, this, as I’m sure you can imagine, does WONDERS for the self-esteem of the youth of today.

Hany Farid, a professor of computer science and a digital forensics expert at Dartmouth, sheds his insight in the New York Times on the problems with Photoshop, and the false notions of beauty that are displayed to the public through advertising and celebrity photographs.

The most recent discussion is whether or not viewers should be informed. In other words, should there be a notice or a watermark on the photo stating when it has been digitally enhanced? Will we be shocked by how many photos are in fact edited? Or will the public all of a sudden seem more and more beautiful as we begin to compete with unaltered photos of celebrities?

Technological advancements have enabled an application that is still in the works, however, essentially the purpose of the tool is to point out when a photo has been digitally Photo shopped.

“The algorithm is meant to mimic human perceptions. To do that, hundreds of people were recruited online to compare sets of before-and-after images and to determine the 1-to-5 scale, from minimally altered to starkly changed. The human rankings were used to train the software.”

Their work is intended as a technological step to address concerns about the prevalence of highly idealized and digitally edited images in advertising and fashion magazines. Such images, research suggests, contribute to eating disorders and anxiety about body types, especially among young women.
So maybe there is hope? Or just a really beautiful future?

You decide.

Instant Photography Pro?; The Pros and Cons of Instagram

An interesting note to speak about on the quality of cell phone photos, and more importantly, photo taking applications. What’s the big deal about Instagram? And why is that the single thing making me want so desperately to become an IPhone user? Is it ownership? Is it that the photos that any amateur with an IPhone takes looks like a gallery worthy image that would take years of education and portfolio building to achieve?

Nope, simply answered, the application uses filters to enhance the photos appearance, and give it a vintage look. This leads me to my second question? With technology that is on the brink of discovery and is so fresh and new, why would you want to upload photos that look like they were taken in 1867?

The merging of old and new technology has been a recent fad. From Skype calling, to ipads, there is clearly a need for society to hold onto these old mediums as we brace ourselves for what is in the future. I appreciate the success of Instagram. It’s a very well-executed product. It’s fast, fun and has a very expedient way of blasting out photos of things people see as they go about their lives. The fact that the entire social network revolves around pictures of relative mundane activities relieves users of the pressure of creating great works of art before showing them to the world.

However, is there really a necessity to making mundane photos seem more appealing? Does society really need another procrastination tool?

It almost seems to me like a money grabber, another application for the iPhone turning consumers into bandwagon chasing zombies. An article in the Globe & Mail discusses the situation and brings to light some very interesting points.

“Vintage filters became the barbecue sauce of the photography world: a strangely appealing taste that’s so pungent it overrules whatever might have been going on in the underlying food, for better or for worse.”

However repetitive it may seem, why do people stick to Instagram over any other photo editing application? Trust me, I’ve looked it up, there is no close to awesome equivalent to the BlackBerry, or the android.

I guess ownership is the glue of this operation. Knowing that YOU took that photo, and it looks just as good as anything a professional could take, is what keeps the users happy and entertained. The social media aspect included is also a great way to enhance a networked community, with the uploading and sharing of photos, only users with the application are able to participate.

So this leaves me wondering…how long until I cross over to the dark side?