me stuff

photoshop (democracy) disasters

in april this year one of my ballet posters (see below) with a manipulated image by photographer/illustrator ‘ingrid baars’ suddenly popped up on the website ‘photoshop disasters’; the initial comment which sparked the whole storm of rather inane reactions later was, in itself pretty juvenile to start with, i quote:

…I will give $1 billion cold hard cash to anyone who has the original image…

the idea being (i have to assume) that someone felt they had spotted a serious mistake and that we, the makers had actually not realised that the female dancer had been modified to have more than the average number of limbs… after all the whole premise of the site seems to be catching people out who do ‘bad’ photoshop work, take note of who is doing the judging here people… for example: a typical comment that followed:

This has to be a record – three right arms on one person. Is there a PsD award contest?

i actually posted myself aiming to point out that it was intentional and luckily several other visitors did so too:

I don’t think this belongs here. I’d say it’s more or less a statement on image/body manipulation just as this blog is. And it’s obviously very extreme but nontheless well done. Rather typical for Dutch poster art.

and this (my favourite) one:

And another artistic image falls to rabid literalism. "Hey! Those clocks aren’t REALLY melting!"

we needn’t have bothered however, because the tactic then only changed and the comments suddenly switched to claiming it was ugly and badly done… fine if you don’t like it that’s a different story, i made the mistake of trying to argue with a whole bunch of bored teenagers not really looking for a rational or serious discussion, i quote:

Good Lord… every time I look at this image, it looks more disturbing. I can’t believe there are actually any bones in her neck either.

the comments kept pouring in swaying one way, then the other:

I actually think it’s quite beautiful and literalism is certainly not the stance with which to approach this piece. It’s a beautifully surreal image, and doesn’t belong on PSD. Way to go guys. *clap clap*

then a dutch photography website/news blog ‘photoq’ picked up on the story and tried to explain that they were missing the point too, the comments continued for several days and i suppose the lesson that i learnt from it all, was the futility of actually trying to have a worthwhile discussion in this way on a blog forum, it was also one of the reasons that i chose not to allow comments on my own blog, you have something intelligent to say, mail me… you want to bitch and be negative, go flame people anonymously on other blogs, thank you…

the epitath to the whole story came from an unexpected source, when a designer living in tokyo ‘andrew pothecary’ wrote the following piece on his blog:

Then a couple of days ago, a good quality ballet brochure cover from designers at me studio was featured. Oh, the comments ? despite the imagery being an intentional expression of movement and dance. I couldn’t fault the cover, but if someone else doesn’t like it, fine. However, the determined appearance of those who think that there is only one correct way to represent things seems almost worrying. Many people commenting would shiver at Picasso ("wow, that’s not where an nose should go! Didn’t he have time to finish the job?") and while I’m not comparing the illustrator of the ballet cover with Picasso, it does seem to me that too much of comment ? on the web generally, in fact ? is meaningless and creating some kind of new grouping of you might call the dictatorially normal. Good that someone from me studio replied and then posted his own news about democracy disasters (the April 16 entry).

Maybe the commenters are right, though. Walk away ? don’t get involved. Perhaps by leaving the group-minded intolerant to their own space, you can keep a head above the banal sarcasm.

Or perhaps I shouldn’t write that on a blog.

you can see his original article here on his ‘move your teeth’ blog, thanks andrew i couldn’t sum it up any better…

m / 29-04-2010 15:46

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