Friday, September 21, 2007

Dedicated To Illinois Times' 2007 Best Blog

YouTube: Photography In The Age Of Digital Deception
Why We Blog
Some Blog to Shine A Light
Some Blog to Hide In Plain Sight
Some Blog to Expose The Ugly
Some Blog to Tell Lies
Make Money

*Kimberly Smoot Photo - A Perfect Plastic Child?.

My Impression

Dave of The11thhour has an interesting, but short post on the announcement of the winner of the Illinois Times Most Popular Blog of the Year (2007). Actually it's the comments which I found more interesting.

I checked the winning blog out for the first time today.

There certainly are many images of pretty high school girls on the site, but I was left wondering where the blog was. I kept searching for a link to a blog, but only found vanity photos. I was left with the impression that there's no blog there.

Jan Van Ravesteyn - Dutch Merchant Immortality Via Portraiture

All very pretty indeed.

Vanity Art isn't new. It's been around for a very long time. Everyone wants something to be remembered by, and that's where vanity art comes in. It really is art, and not so much photography that we see on Kimberly Smoot's "blog".

While visiting Smoot's blog I couldn't help but to notice how heavily she depends upon photo editing software. Such software was once prohibitively expensive, but what was once available only to magazine, and advertising shops is now available for anyone.

From the YouTube videos we see that it does take effort, and skill to edit a photograph, but mostly it takes time, patience, and experience. I certainly can't fault Kimberly Smoot for employing photo editing software. No one wants to shell out three, four, or five thousand dollars for a few photographs which will forever display a blemish that would have disappeared a week after the photo shoot.

Mirror Mirror - Say I'm Perfect!
Yet I believe it is important that we look at the degree to which people will go to show others that they are something they are not. In many of Ms. Smoot's photos the degree of digital makeover is so great that one can hardly see the real person under the processing. The child pictured above looks more like a plastic doll, or an android than a human being. Years from now when this child's grandchildren are looking at photos of Nanna are they going to ask "Nanna, what happened to your face?".

Still we can't blame Ms. Kimberly Smoot as she's simply serving up what people demand - a false image of their physical perfection. Smoot is simply doing digitally what women have been trying to do with makeup for a very long time, and she does a fine job too.

However, I still find it disturbing. I've seen it before - this surreal slip - and I immediately recall where I've seen it. During the renaissance Dutch Merchants were wealthy enough to commission portraits, and of course they ended up with fantasy portrait art which stroked their egos.

I'd much rather see the real person - warts and all, but that's not what people pay for. They pay for images which stroke their ego which they can display to others years later. They show off these photos and they say "This is how physically perfect I was". Even though it's a lie.

*Kimberly Smoot Photo Used Without Permission As Part of Critique & Therefore Protected By Free Use CopyRight Rules.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It sounds like someone is jealous that they didn't win the "Illinois Times Most Popular Blog of the Year". Maybe next time...

email jp






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