Sell Lies, Sell Truth
Lady Gaga is just the last example of a very long series of cases, nowadays we live in a world of digitally enhanced photographs. This is not a piece of news, for sure, and it’s no secret that publications and promotional material use photoshop to “look better”. I’m not the one who accepts a reality in which photographers are sellers of lies, I still believe in images that spread a true and trustful information.
Not all celebrities, models and subjects approve how their appearance is altered and manipulated by photoshop, but often this is not their decision: it’s the client (magazine, brand) which ask the photographer to alter reality, in order to fit their “beauty standard”. Luckily few of them speak out against this widespread industry practice; I’m used to call it the perfection police. Kate Winslet was probably the first one top celebrity to decry this habit, back in 2003, when she stated «The retouching is excessive. I do not look like that and more importantly, I don't desire to look like that». Photoshop is a wonderful mean, if properly and ethically used. We reached the point of abusing of this software and we, the audience, don’t rely any more on what we see printed out there.
This is not simply a philosophical matter, I’m speaking about how do we want the advertising, fashion, information industries to be in the next decades: the unrealistic body standards can be detrimental for us, the ones belonging to the “normal” world. I don’t belong to the crowd who thinks that Photoshop and skinny models improve the anorexia phenomenon and its increasing rate, but I refuse to support this behavior, dictated by the perfection police. Perfection is not meant to be human and our evolution as a living specie on this planet would not have been possible, if not through a series of fortunate imperfections and flaws. I’m not stating that only because I’m an analog photographer and I don’t use Photoshop (I just remove some dust and use it as a darkroom to improve contrast, when needed). I made an exhibition, called “Looking for the Error”; I realized that all my best pictures had huge imperfections and I decided to celebrate and underline this aspect of my art with an exhibition. And guess what?! I found out that there were people like me.
When you don’t like something, try to change it. Sooner or later I’m going to start a truth-selling company, and you’ll be thrilling to know how it works.