Hallowe’en I: Spooky Photoshop

A friend sent us the a link to a site about retouching photos. It was, she said, the scariest thing she’d ever seen. In the spirit of Hallowe’en, we expected people retouched to look like zombies or ghosts; instead we found this. It appears that people are retouching photos of children to make them look “better.”

In “Editing Children Into the Uncanny Valley”, Bryan Alexander raises interesting questions about anxieties toward digital manipulation of images that are supposed to represent reality. All digital art—and indeed all art—is a departure from reality. It is not the fact that this isn’t life-like that makes it disturbing; it’s the fact that it should be. Something has been lost in the editing process that has completely taken away the essence of life and realism that the photos are supposed to capture.

So where do we draw the line between acceptable digital art and that which affects us negatively? At what point do these girls stop looking real? As Alexander also points out, there are also some interesting issues of class, a topic which has already garnered attention in the digital world.

“At Pixar, they have a word for almost human but not quite: monster.” – Alvin Ray Smith