There are a number of sites with “doctored” images on the net, but Time Magazine recently created what they believe are the Top Ten Doctored Images.
but lets see what Time came up with (links are to stories behind those images):
- abt. 1865: General Sherman was added to a group photo. Scientific American (and yes, that’s part of another top ten)
- abt. 1935: Trotzki and Kamenev were removed from a famous Lenin picture. Wikipedia
- abt. 1937: Goebbels was removed from a group photo with Hitler. Scientific American, again
- abt. 1970: A pole was removed from a photo Wikipedia
- 2003: A cigarette was removed from a Beatles CD cover. BBC
- 1989: Oprah’s head was mounted to somebody else’s body. NYTimes
- 2005: Martha Stewart’s head was mounted to somebody else’s body for a Newsweek cover NPPA
- 2008: A malfunctioning missile launcher was removed, and replaced with the image of a fourth missile. NYTimes
- 2009: Kim Jong Il was added to a photo (Time Magazine has a whole series on doctored photos of him)
- 2009: Two women in a group photo of the israelian cabinet replaced by men. ABC News
Hmm… thats the top ten? By what measure? Importance? Kim Jong Il and Martha Steward? It seems they just produced a list of ten such images and somebody put the “Top Ten” title on, because it’s so catchy. If you want to choose your own top ten, this is a good place to start. But then again, it’s friggin Time Magazine! So it must really be the top ten, mkay?
Lets assume for a second those are actually the top ten, and see how and why those images were changed.
sorted by analog vs. digital (“photoshopped”)
- analog image manipulation: 1 through 4
- digital image manipulation: 5 through 10
sorted by type of change and intent
- important person removed or added, changing context/meaning: 1,2,3,9,10
- important items removed or added, changing context/meaning: 8
- body parts removed or added, changing appearance: 6,7
- secondary/distracting items removed without changing overall meaning: 4, 5
sorted by “who dunnit”
- unknown: 1, 4
- dictator / government: 2,3,9 (plus possibly #8)
- publisher: 5
- press / newspaper / news agency: 6,7,10 (plus possibly #8)
No matter whether you think Time Magazine was right in choosing those or not – image manipulation has been there ever since there were photographs. What has changed drastically is who does the manipulation. What used to be a propaganda trick of dictators, has appearantly become fashionable with newspapers and magazines. Oh, and the dictators still love it.
I personally couldn’t care less about some celebrities head on somebody elses body, and I’m not shocked that people like Stalin, Hitler or manipulated photos. But look at the dates, and look at the effort that was probably needed: Digital image manipulation is new, its cheap and it brought a new player to the game: newspapers and news agencies. That does worry me.