Within the realm of digital photography there is a lot of room for cheating. Sometimes it is all right to manipulate photographs and sometimes it is not. In the area of marketing and advertisement, most, if not all companies remodel product photos to make them more saleable. The question is how much is too much and what are the implications to the individual as well as to society?
Obviously, sex sells. We all know that. But when we manipulate to our perception of what other people want, we begin to define what they want through our manipulation. It is kind of like me standing up and saying day in and day out that I like warm beer. At some point I will find someone who will agree with me — then another and another, until I gain enough momentum that you feel you have to agree with me because your perception is that everyone else does.
Think about the phrases and trends that have twisted our culture over the last 40 years. “Blondes have more fun” made our culture feel that other hair colors were inferior. The Heroin chic craze has generated more eating disorders than botulism ever could.
That being said, what is the problem with manipulation for the sake selling of things? I found a good example of the kind of subtle manipulation that can be done to tweak your thinking without you ever realizing it. It is this kind of manipulation that can be the most detrimental. It is a form of subliminal mind shrink.
The Girl Power site shows a picture of a fourteen year old girl standing in a shirt and blue jeans. The site then uses Photoshop manipulation to create a magazine cover of the girl to sell the magazine.