The term photoshopping has been appropriated from Adobes image editing software Photoshop, and has come to mean any digital altering of a photograph or image
When most people think of photoshopping they think of images being retouched to make people in magazines look better – like these pictures of Minnie Driver.
It all started way before digital cameras around 1860 with a portrait of US President Abraham Lincoln. In a lithograph his head was combined with the body of John Calhoun, a Southern politician.
Stalin often air-brushed his enemies out of photographs. In this photo a commissar had fallen out of favour and been removed.
Mussolini thought he looked more heroic without the horse handler in the photograph
Then the internet came along and things started to get interesting. This photo was sent out as an email hoax purporting to be National Geographics Photo of the Year. It was a combination of a photo of a helicopter taken in front of the Golden Gate bridge and a photo of a shark taken in South Africa.
Photoshopping has morphed into a culture of the absurd, with the goal of entertainment. Photoshopping is an extremely effective way of making an astute observation, or just making people laugh for the sheer hell of it.(Manic, 2009) In this culture, photo manipulation is widely seen as an art form. People who cant paint or draw can create by remixing. A meme is an infectious and contagious idea that tickles the funny bone and takes off. Most, but not all, photoshopping images employ humour.
Bert is Evil is a photoshopping meme that involves superimposing the Sesame Street character Bert into photos in an attempt to prove him evil. Bert is Evil originally began as a website founded by Dino Ignacio in 1998 As it gained in popularity he could no longer maintain it and offered it to anyone who could. Lots of sites jumped on the bandwagon, further boosting the memes popularity. Following are some examples of the Bert is Evil meme.
Disaster girl started in October 2004 when Dave Roth took a photo of a fire training session with his daughter smiling devilishly in the foreground. It took off in 2007 when it was published in a magazine competition.
To conclude, photoshopping allows people to create art forms, enter competitions, become part of an online meme, and comment on social and political phenomena. Whenever the world is getting too grim or serious, or an organisation tries to get away with something, a photoshopper will take the micky out of the situation.
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