Oh Microsoft, what have you done now?

Recently, and justifiably so, Microsoft was blasted for an image on it’s Polish-version website, where they Photoshopped a white man’s head on a black man’s body. Check out the story here. Two things come to mind: 1) Why on earth would they do that, and 2) Why would they do it so poorly? I mean, if you’ve already decided to jump off the bridge, why not go down screaming, “suck it!” while giving the world the middle finger, then at the last second – cannonball? Look at the pictures. The size, angle and lighting of the “replacement” head is all wrong, as well as what should be the dead giveaway: the hand.

This also begs the question: How far is too far? How much digital retouching should a photographer do? This is obviously an extreme example, as well as Dove’s “Evolution of Beauty”, but it should make us think before we click.

Personally, I try to limit the amount of digital retouching I do. Yes, everyone gets pimples, and no, they are not a permanent feature of our face, so I will retouch those. And sometimes wrinkles and moles can be distracting to the overall image. But when it comes to reshaping faces or bodies, that’s where I draw the line.

On the flip side, I also consider photography to be an art form. Why should it be any different than say, painting? Many painters paint what they want to see, not what is actually there. Photography is not that different. Hire three photographers to shoot the same thing, and you will likely get three different interpretations. Why should a photo simply be a record of that 1/200th of a second in time? Why not use the tools to their fullest?

There’s no easy answer here, and as technology improves, it will likely create more problems than answers. The best we can do for now is to ask “should I?” instead of “can I?”