Here’s the question of the hour… Can the use (or non-use in this case) of Photoshop actually have an effect on voters in the upcoming US presidential election? The Republican Party sure seems to think so! Republicans are up in arms over the latest Newsweek Magazine cover showing a closeup “un-retouched” photo of Sarah Palin. The party is accusing Newsweek of borderline slander, by not retouching and smoothing out the image of Palin.
At first I set out to write this blog article from an unbiased standpoint, but let’s face it, I’m taking my gloves off. Bringing photo retouching (or lack thereof) into this election has brought things to new heights of absurdity. I thought it was customary to slam the Photoshoppers for going too far overboard with their retouching, sometimes to the point of not even being able to recognize the person in question. Now a lack of retouching and showing the natural portrait is considered slanderous, when it’s beneficial to say so of course. I for one don’t believe that the American voters care if this image was retouched or not, nor would it have any political effect if they did smooth out her natural facial features.
Let’s look at the flipside. Rather than smoothing out the image, some folks have said this image was purposefully oversharpened and enhanced to make the photo less appealing. Again, does this really matter? As a photographer and Photoshop user who is constantly striving to learn and improve, I just find this whole issue a bit silly yet interesting still.
So taking all of this into consideration and moving forward as digital photographers, image retouchers, and Photoshop gurus let’s ask ourselves… Can Photoshop really have any impact on this election? How ethical is it now, to over retouch or to simply not retouch at all?