Photoshop Is More Powerful Than You Might Think

Most people are well aware that images in media and advertising are Photoshopped to some degree but, do we really know how powerful the editing software can be? Until I watched this video, posted in an article on TODAY, I was unaware of how severely images can be altered.

The original photograph and edited version don’t even appear to be the same model. Elizabeth Moss, founder of Rare Digital Art, a high-end retouching boutique in New York, made the videos to show people that virtually nothing goes untouched in Photoshop. While you would expect imperfections to be erased, Moss also demonstrates facial reshaping, enlarges her eyes, even changes where shadows from the mask appear.

In an interview with TODAY, Moss justifies the use of Photoshop by saying it is necessary to produce impactful image.

“Often when you see an image that boasts ‘no Photoshop,’ the lighting is pretty flat and boring,” Moss said. “Does society win in that situation where we’ve forced the photographer to light in a way that he might not have otherwise because he’s afraid of what the subject might look like without Photoshop?”

While it may be true that the harsh lighting calls for a bit of retouching— there is a fine line between retouching and creating a completely new image.

Moss also said in her interview that people shouldn’t compare themselves to media or advertisements..

“I hope that young people understand that what they see in magazines should not be setting a beauty standard for them to try to achieve,” she said. “Even without retouching, models make up such a minuscule percentage of the world population it’s crazy to compare yourself to them. Then they have makeup, stylists, the best photographers, and people like me spending days to make the beautiful look even more beautiful.

If it is not a beauty standard that people wanted to achieve, how would companies sell products? Consumers purchase beauty products to obtain the look sold to them by that advertisement but the images aren’t an accurate representation of the product at all — so what are companies really selling? An ideal. And to say that people shouldn’t compare themselves to an standard being sold to them is almost insulting… it takes the responsibility away from the industry and allows them to continue to make money off consumer insecurities, which is exactly what they want.


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