Plastic People

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

                                                      Stan Lee, From the first issue of Spider Man

These words should be branded on photographers world-wide.

Why do I say this?

I just received the current issue of “Professional Photographer Magazine” today (I’m not quite sure why I receive this magazine) and noticed that almost all the images of people in the magazine- articles and ads alike- were not… real. These poor folks had been retouched out of existence…morphing into Zappa-esque “Plastic People”. I had to do a double take on more than a few of them to check to see if they really were photography, rather than CGI (computer generated imagery) …and the scary thing about that is that on more than one I’m still not really sure.

But we’d be lucky if this phenomenon were limited to the pages of one crappy industry rag. Just go to your local bookstore and check out the magazine stand and you’ll see the magnitude of this travesty…WARNING: it is so scary that I would only recommend it to photographers over 18 years in age due to the shocking and graphic nature of the visual insanity. How could we as photographers have forgotten that it is the human element in an image that counts and that the quest for the perfect print/ perfect model/ perfect everything is doomed to perfect failure? That the quest for Perfection in the wrong hands can kill a photograph? A true master photographer knows to when to stop. You the photographer with a click of your mouse and perhaps the wave of your wand have the full capacity to squeeze every bit of life and passion out of even the most amazing image…so just don’t do it. Yes your computer is amazing and yes your skills at Photoshop are fantastic but don’t feel like you need to use all of them at once on every single image…for the love of god, man, step away from the computer!

So where do we go from here? I for one am taping the quote from Stan Lee to my desktop and the next time I am tempted to remove just one more wrinkle I will read the quote and recall with a shudder the insanity epitomized by “Professional Photographer Magazine.”

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