Most graphic designers associate Photoshop wizardry with making visual magic to engage consumers. One of my favorite digital artists, Erik Almas, is a master at this. His campaigns for Absolut and other products are amazing and award-winning, and his work epitomizes the power of digital imaging tools to make people and places flawless, and products larger than life.
It’s a much rarer occasion when we see these tools being used for anti-consumerism, which is exactly the point with the image “Decorum,” by visual artist Margeaux Walter. A visually stunning image, at first glance “Decorum” wows the viewer with the sheer abundance of luxurious leopard fur. Yet upon further inspection, we realize the irony of the photo as the leopard gazes back out on a of scene conspicuous consumption and total suffocation.
Walter says about her work, “I’m interested in how ads, technology, and consumerism are changing our lives. We are becoming products of our products, being suffocated by our materials.”
Much has been written about the atrocities of Photoshop. It has been used for all kinds of photo manipulation—some is considered racist, like the OJ Simpson image that graced Time magazine’s cover; some is considered dangerous and ridiculous, like the Iran missile image explosions; and some is considered anti-feminist and irresponsible as shown in this video “Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising’s Image of Women” with Jean Kilbourne.
Benetton’s recent release of the “Unhate” ad campaign has caused a firestorm of controversy. The goal of their campaign is a worthy one—to contribute to a new culture of tolerance and to combat hatred. The UNHATE Campaign is the first in a series of initiatives involving community.
In today’s digitally sophisticated world the word Photoshop is used and understood readily as a verb. It’s not unusual to have clients say just “photoshop” the missing team member into a group photo. There was a time not that long ago when Photoshop was seen as a magical and mystical tool.
Do you remember the days when Photoshop was a new and novel concept?