Media Manipulation

Manipulation in media has been around for ages. Really, ever since the beginning of media people have been trying to change how it’s perceived. Look at the early movies playing with perception, or photos that could be taken out of context or altered. It really seems like we’ve been trying to trick each other for years and years. We are mostly conscious about these manipulations as well. When you go to a movie, you think about how well the special effects are done, and if something looks really fake you’ll comment on it. In the past few years lots of people have been pointing out how much photographs of models are manipulated in post. It makes you wonder, how much is too much?

 

Before and after shot from Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Photo from Entertainment Weekly.
Before and after shot from Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Photo from Entertainment Weekly.

When it comes to films, especially today, so much is manipulated. There are even some movies that don’t even leave a closed studio set that’s completely green screen. We marvel at some actors who regularly play characters that are completely CGI. A couple that come to mind are Manu Bennet in The Hobbit and most notably Andy Serkis in the Lord of the Rings movies along with the recent Planet of the Apes films.  People are even rallying for Serkis to be nominated for best actor come Academy Award time. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes had multiple scenes that were nothing but CGI apes talking and living amongst one another. According to critic and fan reaction, this was very well received. Even entire sets in well received movies like Sin City are CGI. However, when other manipulations happen, people are not too happy about it.

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www.thatguywithglasses.com Gives his thoughts about CGI.

 

Models are used to do just that, model. Specifically a product of some sort. Advertisements in magazines are filled with models telling you to buy a certain thing. All these pictures are changed. The people in the photos are made skinnier, smoother looking skin, facial features changed, almost anything you can think of is manipulated. Not only that, but pictures of celebrities that are interviewed by magazine companies are altered. In this case of manipulation, people are not too happy. Whenever some major manipulation comes out there is an uproar in the community, mainly the female one, and rightfully so. Already attractive individuals are deemed to not be good enough for the picture so they are changed to look even better. This then gives an image of unattainable perfection to the young people of the world to try and aspire to. These modified pictures are having major effects on the body image of young females, as this article discusses. This poor body image transfers into things like eating disorders or poor nutrition. In this case, it’s pretty clear that the manipulation of media is over the top. Then again, you can argue that the companies aren’t saying you are supposed to look a certain way with their advertisements. They are using this characterization that isn’t real to help promote their product though, and this is having a negative effect on a lot of people.

 

The very controversial manipulated photo of OJ Simpson. From arogundade.com.
The very controversial manipulated photo of OJ Simpson. From arogundade.com.

In the end, manipulation in media can be good and bad. Like most things, there are times where it is used and it works and doesn’t hurt anyone. However, there are clearly times where it hurts people and effects their lives. Sometimes, in films, it’s necessary and helps push the directors artistic vision. Imagine watching a film like 300 without any manipulation of the original takes. It would be a completely different film, and wouldn’t be nearly as stylistic or good. Seeing an unaltered photo in an advertisement may be a bit surprising at first since we’re so used to seeing them altered, but it would be nothing but good to stop altering photos as much as advertisers do.

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