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The Matrix

+ - SPAM: Photoshop allows us to alter our memories

Submitted by
Anti-Globalism
Anti-Globalism writes "In an age of digital manipulation, many people believe that snapshots and family photos need no longer stand as a definitive record of what was, but instead, of what they wish it was.

It used to be that photographs provided documentary evidence, and there was something sacrosanct about that, said Chris Johnson, a photography professor at California College of the Arts in the Bay Area.

If you wanted to remove an ex from an old snapshot, you had to use a Bic pen or pinking shears. But in the digital age, people treat photos like mash-ups in music, combining various elements to form a more pleasing whole.

What were doing, Mr. Johnson said, is fulfilling the wish that all of us have to make reality to our liking.

And he is no exception. When he photographed a wedding for his girlfriends family in upstate New York a few years ago, he left a space at the end of a big group shot for one member who was unable to attend. They caught up with him months later, snapped a head shot, and Mr. Johnson used Photoshop to paste him into the wedding photo.

Now, he said, everyone knows it is phony, but this faked photograph actually created the assumption people kind of remember him as there."

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