Airbrush Me, Please!

Sometimes, the subject in a photograph needs a bit of tweaks or minor improvement. Some made them look completely different from the original shot but that's another conversation. What I believe is a picture should leverage the model's features (and the MUA skills too). After all, the photographer's credibility and name at stakes if the picture turns out unfortunate. A picture relies on the photographer's skill set, from setting up the equipments, arranging the pose up to post-production which is the longest in the process. All in the name of perfection.

A good photographer must always update their knowledge on various expertise, one of them is photo manipulation. Photo manipulation is to improve a picture in a desired way, there's many software for that. One of the most familiar technique is airbrushing. Before the digital era, hand-brushing was popular when photographers still using analog cameras and negative films (black and white pictures). Then in 1890 airbrush was found and it changed the story of photography altogether. Manual retouching continued to be used by professional photographers for portrait and commercial work. The main purpose of airbrushing is to remove (or add) parts in the pictures, like scars, objects, certain colour, strain of hair, etc.

Software programs such as Photoshop and many others allow users to edit photographs much more precisely than even the most skilled airbrush artist from the days of film-only photography. Quite often, the term "airbrushed" has been replaced with "photoshopped." This advancement in technology has also led to many debates. The ability to manipulate a photo in such a precise manner and with such easy-to-use tools brings up ethical concerns. Has too much retouching on models led to unrealistic perceptions about the ideal body image? Can photojournalists remove an element from a photo to alter the reality of what happened? Are companies using it to create false advertising?​

These questions are still in debate nowadays since with modern technologies people couldn't tell what's the truth in a picture. But I believe that's for the consumers' to decide. Take Instagram for example, filter excessively used in the applications are very popular. You can change the mood of a picture by giving it a nostalgia-like tone or even add parts of nature when it's not there. An Instagram user admits she's been using an applications to add clouds in all of her travel pictures. But all her followers actually doubled ever since. Then again, it is all up to the photographer's on how they want to create the style of a picture for their audience.