The fashion images have now changed and they become surreal because of the easy availability of the editing software and the photography tactics and tools. Such software, tactics, and tools are letting the designer and photographer to do as much of the processing and editing as their mind come up with, which has changed the fashion images. Now the images do not look real because they are changed to such an extent that their originality is lost. Being a photography student, in this paper, I have focused on the the improvement in the photography, the use of tactics in order to make the fashion images more attractive because the use of the appropriate tactics in the photography helps in making the image more attractive as compared to the image that is edited by using a software.
The photographs are considered as the powerful tools in order to convey the message. Similarly, the fashion images are also regarded are essential for showing the latest trends prevailing in the market. They are, however, also used in order to show the creativity. A photographer keeps on using several tactics and techniques in order to form a unique image so that it becomes centre of attention of majority of people. The photographer consider the idea of seeing is believing, so in order to enhance the visibility and the attraction of the image, they use several tools, such as lightening, selection of the object, selection of the background, and skills of taking a photograph. Lightening is the most effective tool that is use in the photography because it helps in the increasing the visibility of an image.
The photographer while taking the picture takes the effects of the indoor and the outdoor lightening into consideration. Experimenting with the lights can help in getting more useful results as compared to the use of the editing software, the use of which loss the originality of the image and the image starts looking weird. The photographers take care of the angle of light so that particular effect can be created. Moreover, they also adjust the shutter speed and flashlight in order to take a clear photograph. Further, the photographers consider the back lightening, side lightening, diffused lightening, and the artificial lightening for the fashion images. Most of the professionals and the academics including Berger (1999), Cass (1998), and Harris (1991) have accepted the reality that the digital technology and the editing software have modified the face of the photography, and they are allowing the editors and photographers to change any features or the aspect of photograph/image. There are many softwares available for editing images, such as Adobe Photoshop, which is used for editing the pictures, the imperfections in the image can be adjusted, the scenes, people, and other objects can be added as well as removed. Because of the availability of such software as well as hardware, the sanctity of the real image and the power of the image to tell the truth is affected.
It is indicated by Berger (1999) that the power of the photograph to tell the truth is the major characteristic and this power has importance in the publications also because people get most of the information on the basis of the photographs that are presented by the newspapers, journals, and the digital media. The text mentioned in the journals and newspapers indicate the ontological truth and the photographs are the physical personification of the truth. The photograph is perceived as very important because it is a physical demonstration of place, person, or an event. The reader or the viewer consider it as faithful, true, direct, and incorruptible representation, which indicates exactly what, happened at that time when it was captured. Photographs are, however, perceived as truth and reality (Berger, 1999). For example, the photographs can show the actual face as well as glamorous face of the fashion industry. But the editing of the pictures is threat for the true, real, and faithful representation of the pictures. Now the photographs are manipulated to conceal the facts and figures. Such manipulations are, however, affecting the ability of the public to trust the photographs and consider them as representation of the reality. The loss of the public confidence in the visual representation of the images in the journalism is a significant concern (Harris, 1999).
The reason of this mistrust is that the manipulated images are identical to the reality, and it is not possible to differentiate the images from the reality, they look similar to the real image, and ae threatening the original function of the image. For example, if the color of the photograph is changed, it will change its complete mood. But, making such changes in the photographs, the reality is not being conveyed to people, the editors and the photographers are also not conveying the truth by editing pictures with the help of various techniques (Harris, 1991).
It is, however, essential that the publications and the individuals describe the truth without doing much editing. In order to ensure that the photographs are based on reality the photographers, photo-journalists, and the editors should follow the ethical and moral codes (Cass, 1998). These codes emphasize that the journalists should produce unprejudiced and unbiased truth, and they should avoid unnecessary use of the digital manipulation and other editing software because by using them they are violating these codes. The manipulation does not let the photographers to represent the true picture. If the photographers comply with the codes of ethics then they assure the viewer and reader that the photograph they are representing is a manifestation of the fact and truth, and it is not a composed or constructed image (Cass, 1998). The major aim of the existence of codes and conducts is to safeguard the sovereignty of the image, but it is also a fact that these codes and conducts are not strictly enforced and they can be ignored very easily by those who have the authority and power to violate them. So, peer pressure is a significant method in order to avoid the violation of the codes and conducts.
The advertising via the fashion images and the photography utilizes artificial or the auxiliary lighting as a minimum. The lightening, however, comes from the flashes, reflectors, or the hot lights. The image should not be changed a lot. The much that can be done with the picture is to adjust the contrast, and to take care of the lightening effects while taking the picture so that much of the editing can be avoided and originality of the images is not lost. The fashion images are famous because of their attraction, so in the fashion images instead of editing the picture by the use of the editing software, the lightening, style, depth, and the exposure of the image should be considered.
In this regard, the lightening plays an important role. If the lightening effects of the image are considered before taking the picture then the use of the editing software can be avoided and the true image can be maintained in order to convey the reality to the viewers. In this regard, back lighting, side lighting, diffused lighting, and artificial lighting should be taken into consideration. The Back lighting is used for giving the artistic nature to the photograph in the fashion imagery. The back-lit conditions of light can be used in order to give the desired effect to the photograph. But, care should be exercised while using the back lighting because it can lead to the photo graphic disasters. Moreover, while using a back-lit source, it should be taken into consideration that it has to be light technically. For example, while taking a picture in front of the bright sky, back-lit condition or situation is developed, even if the sun is not apparent as the light source. In this case, the lighting shutter speed and aperture should be taken into consideration.
The metering mode of the digital camera helps in determining the lighting condition and the brain of the digital camera determines the speed of shutter, and aperture helps in producing the desired type of image. The back-lit solutions are, however, tricky.
Side lighting is used in order to give the dramatic effects to the photos. In this type of lighting, the angle of light is adjusted as required so that one part of image is exposed to light and other to the shadow in order to produce the dramatic effect. However, natural lightening can be used, without a flash in order to give a softened effect. Further, diffused lighting is used for preventing an over-exposed photograph. In order to take an image on the diffused lighting the best time is to take the photograph when sun is behind a cloud, or when the subject is in the shade.
Artificial lighting is the lighting that is not the natural outdoor lighting. Artificial light include the indoor lighting and the built-in flash of the camera. By using the flash light of the camera red eye effect etc., can be produced, which is common in the fashion imagery. The use of the light is, however, the deciding element that determines attractive and appalling nature of the image. When the camera is used and it is allowed to select the aperture and the shutter speed automatically, the camera uses its built-in meter of light and measures the reflection of the light to the camera. However, it does not mean that this is all that can be done; the photographer should consider the angle of the light that is entering the frame, the desired shadows, and the use of flash light for producing a brighter background. However, all these things are considered so that the use of the editing software can be avoided, they enhance the beauty of the image and make it attractive but at the same time the originality of the image.
Shooting of an image at night can pave the way to several effects such as the pictures with the moonlight, lights in the motion, and the silhouettes.
The angle of light should be considered whenever there is a need for the creation of the special effects. Further, the effects of the light rays outdoors as well as indoors can be impressive. In the photography the ability to see and consider the actual light rays helps in the production of impressive photographs. The light rays that are properly adjusted in the sunset, from the artificial light, and the light coming from the window lead to production of the striking image.
Additionally, Silhouettes are also a remarkable example of the use of light. Silhouettes are effectually formed when bright light is coming from the back of the subject. It is, however, significant to take the light readings of the camera off of the back rather than of the subject for adjusting the camera for an exposure that is founded on the backlight, which will fruitfully under-expose the subject. However, if one keeps on experimenting with diverse ways of using the light, he/she can find many interesting results. More efficient results can be obtained with longer exposure.
But, if one fails to adjust rays of light in taking a picture, then contrast option is available in the editing software for enhancing or decreasing the visibility of the image, and to make it attractive by retaining its real characteristics and the reality associated with it. The light that is entering into the camera can be increased when the shutter speed is increased and aperture is narrowed, and it is increased with the opening of the aperture and reduction in the shutter speed. The contrast of the picture is, however, affected by the amount of light that is allowed while exposing. In the photography, contrast is the difference between the light and dark. However, the contrast of an image is adjusted so that its visibility can be improved; sometimes it is also used to reduce the visibility of the image. The feature of contrast is used in order to avoid too much change in the image.
The realists, however, argue that the photographs are the analogons, they are just the copies of the actual conditions and situations. According to Barthes (1984), Tthe photographs deliver a sense and feeling of being thereness. This sense is, however, conveyed to the reader who considers that the image is representing the truth. This situation is base on the positivist trust and belief that the picture is the indication of the truth and comprises of the facts that can be revealed if the picture is inspected via the vision. However, many people are of the view that media should play its role in showing the reality, should reveal the truth to the public without making any changes, but this belief is not considered by those who are exercising power and authority on the media and are controlling it (Berger, 1991). The manipulations of images are the threats for people because it is compelling them to understand the fact that what they are seeing in the photographs is not the fact.
Edward Steichen has described that there is no reality in the photograph; every photograph is fake from the beginning to the end. It is impossible to have a photograph, which is not manipulated, and is impersonal (Meltzer, 1997). The constructivists are of the view that photograph is the combination of the photographer’s and reader’s interpretation. The photographer interprets it at the scene and the reader interprets it when he looks at it. However, there are many choices available to the photographer at the field or scene. The availability of choices means that a photographer can take a single picture in various and different manners, as there is no inherent, natural, or absolute truth in the photography.
However, the reader considers his/her preferences, cultural beliefs, and memories, when he/she sees the photographs, and these memories, and beliefs, etc, affect the image’s interpretations. So, the digital manipulation is just the extension of the image construction process. This point of view is indicating that the issue is not the masking of the truth by the manipulation of the image, by the issue is regarding the fact that why it is manipulated, what and whose interest it is serving.
The photo-journalists and the editors have to use the images, sometimes these images are modified so that they can become readable and printable so that poor quality photographs can be enhanced. The process of the medication of the images via the editing software is infinite and it is still not find out how it can be controlled on a large scale. Moreover, it is also a matter of the fact that the digital manipulation of the photographs is useful in many ways. For example, the editors and the photojournalists can make the poor quality images printable by using the digital techniques of manipulating the photograph. The presences of the editing software and other digital manipulating techniques have made it easier to get an improved photograph. This can be considered from an example that a blur photograph in which the color is not up to the mark individuals are appearing faceless can be improved radically, and this can be done by adjusting the contrast and the brightness of the image, it can be improved further by sharpening it (Meltzer, 1997).
Further, the editing software have also made it possible to eliminate the scratches, enhance the details, correct and balance the image, it is a faster and cheaper way of editing a image as compared to the analogue technology. The manipulation associated with the news images is, however, warned, when an image is shown to the reader and he/she may become upset because of the unaltered image. For example, if the news is related to the death of person due to fire, and dead body of a person is shown then reader may become distress, but if just the face is shown and the rest of the body is shown after covering it or hiding it by using the tools provided by the editing software, then it will indicate respect, and represents the interests of good choice. This type of manipulation enables the newspapers, magazines and other media to present the photograph to the public that would be useless otherwise.
However, the credibility of the image is not destroyed if it is manipulated in a careful manner and the public is informed about its use (Cass, 1998). Because of the infinite possibilities that are offered by editing software and digital manipulation technique, it is necessary that the journalists and photographers follow the guidelines that help them to consider the ethical boundaries and they become aware that these boundaries should not be crossed. It is the view of vast majority that contrast, brightness, correction of color, dodging and burning in order to control the range of toner, and re-touching the scratches and dust are instances in the manipulation, which are acceptable. But, the problem is still that there is no one to decide about where the line should be drawn in order to keep the manipulation to such an extent that the reality that is linked with the photographs is not manipulated.
Furthermore, the addition, removal and moving the picture within a frame, change in the color to such an extent that the subject looks different, merger of the elements so that they become one, and flipping the photograph, they are the forms of manipulation, which are not acceptable. Moreover, it is necessary to identify the image as altered, manipulated, and original, and it should be labeled in an appropriate way. it should not violate the copyright and the IP rights i.e., intellectual property rights, the image should not be used for deceiving others and convincing them to accept what is being represented in the photograph and consider it truth. Further, it should be taken into consideration that an image should not meant for violating the moral rights of the subject that are related to the stereotyping and privacy. It should not violate the legal and ethical standards related to the decency, affability, and obscenity.
Additionally, the image editors and the professionals should be aware of the fact that the novel technologies of communication may have unwanted and changeable effects for the society, so they should be prepared and ready to explain these effects and do further research on these effects. They should, however, work in order to control the manipulation and excessive use of the technology at an individual level, because every individual in accountable for such acts of manipulation and for defending the truth regarding the information they provide.
The photo manipulation have become easy because of the editing software and the digital technology, but at the same time it has also revealed the fact that the seeing is not always believing, most of people have now realized this fact that because of the digital technology all the images are not the representations of fact (Berger, 1992). For example, in the advertising fashion images are used, and these fashion images are altered to such an extent that they lose their originality. The images of the female models are taken, and at the time of taking photograph artificial lighting is used, and excessive lighting effects are used in order to make the image more attractive so that it successfully grab the attention of a lot of people.
Trends are promoted with the help of the fashion images. Because of the excessive use of lighting and editing of photographs the images attract the attention, but reality is far from these edited images. Nowadays there is a trend of online promotion of the goods, so that the needs of online customers can be catered, such as advertisement and promotion of clothes online, in which the images of stitched or unstitched dresses are shown, so that customers can place the order online in case they consider that the dress is suitable for them. Lighting is used in such images so that the colors of dresses become more vibrant and become the centre of attention of a lot of people. But, when these dresses are seen in the natural light without any artificial lighting effects, the colors of these dresses look dull, and they seem unattractive. So, the use of the excessive lighting in the fashion images is hiding the reality of the image and is deceiving the consumers.
All this manipulation is going on because of the fact that the journalists are considering that they are free and they are their own protectors and gatekeepers. There are many other examples, which are indicative of the fact that this editing has been going on for many years. The event of the demonstration of students in the Kent University in the year 1970 is an indicative of this fact. The incident is still an issue of the debate because in a photograph, the pole was removed from the background, on the grounds that removal of pole would make the picture look better. The pole gave an appearance that it was protruding from the head of woman. But, most of the people are of the view that the pole is erased because of the hidden motives. However, there are still many unanswered questions relating to the images of event 1970 (Rosenberg, 2013).
Further, another example of this fact is darkened face of O.J Simpson on the cover of the TIME magazine. This example has proved that even adjusting of the contrast can lead to disastrous results. In the O.J Simpson the contrast of the picture is adjusted but this destroyed the reality of the photograph. It was explained that the contrast was adjusted in order to represent the tragedy, as dark is often used in order to show the evil. So, the dark contrast in this picture is also used in order to show the tragedy. By making the picture dark the Simpson is represented as a criminal.
The picture is as follows:
Figure 1: Darkened face of O.J Simpson on the cover of the TIME magazine
The technology is playing an effective role, in a way that the photographic manipulations and the digitalization techniques are formed on the basis of the earlier direct and developed forms of the manipulation of the traditional images. Before the era of 1980s, the processes of the digital manipulation were mainly limited to the large organizations such as the newspapers and the publishers of the magazines (Gilmor, 2008). But, now in this digital era, everyone has an easy access to the computers, digital cameras, scanners, and printers, they can easily form the images and take the prints of these manipulated images. The amount of the images taken just depend on the number of the ideas and the skills that an individual posses. The ability of creating a wonderful image is not exclusive now for the computer technicians; everyone now has an access for the creation of such images.
Now, new software of computer such Silicon Beach Software’s Digital Darkroom, Microsoft picture editor, and Adobe Photoshop, etc., are available to the photographers, who were using the traditional methods of editing the pictures, which have become outdated now. The digital manipulation of the images has changed the classical methods of the photography. The classical methods of the photography are, however, replaced by the magic tool, marquee tool, and the lasso tools, etc of the Adobe Photoshop. However, the most remarkable feature is that the computer can become a complete machine, in a way, that it helps in the editing of an image, loading of image, scanning, and printing, it is even helpful in facilitating the traditional process of the photography.
The digital manipulation and the editing of the fashion images have many advantages as well as disadvantages. The disadvantages include deceiving people by the concealment of the fact and the advantages include the elimination of the cost because they have eliminated the need of the photographic reel or spools and the necessity of processing the image in the dark rooms. Further, they have helped to save the time because now photograph can be taken, and edited easily and can be sent anywhere at any time.
But, it is also a fact that the most of the photographs have to undergo digital modifications in order to become publishable in the newspapers and magazines, the digital software covert the their RGB, i.e., Red, Green and Blue model to CMYK model, i.e., cyan, magenta, yellow, and black model to that printing can be facilitated. Another fact that has to be considered is that the newspapers and magazines have always used the diagrams and the drawings in order to present the reality of the incident to the public. This is indicative of the fact that it is not easy to spot and judge the manipulated photographs as the diagrams or the drawing.
In a nut shell, the fashion images have become unreal and surreal because of the editing software and the digital technology, which is allowing the photographers to change the image and modify it as much as they can. The editing software presents many tools that make the editing easy. Further, adjustment of the contrast, brightness, color, and retouching the scratches are the acceptable in photography if they do not change the reality of the picture and the incident associated with the picture. But, addition, removal, and the movement of the picture are not acceptable because they change the entire meaning of the picture, and deceive the viewers. But, great care should be exercised while adjusting the contrast so that the picture reveals the truth, and its power to describe the truth is not lost. Furthermore, the editing can be avoided if the lighting effects are taken into the consideration while taking the pictures, back lighting, side lighting, diffused lighting, and the artificial lighting should be adjusted in a manner by using the skills of photography that the desired photograph can be obtained. The photographers and the editors should obey codes, conducts, and ethics of the photography, so that much editing and manipulation can be avoided. The manipulation of the photographs should be avoided in the journalism, because people consider that media is a representation of reality, and it will show the truth. The photograph is a combination of the interpretation of the photographer and reader, so the photographers should try to avoid the manipulation so that real image with truth is presented to the viewers, so that they also interpret the entire situation on the basis of the truth and reality.
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