Picture This
Over the years, we've visited dozens of countries by way of the camera lens and Friday's
Journal pages.  This week, I decided to go a little further afield than the world -- to the out-
of-this-world realm of digital art.  Digitally enhanced photography is commonplace today.
I often turn to Photoshop myself -- to lighten the exposure, deepen the color or even remove a
piece of litter or other extraneous element that might prove distracting if left on the image.  (I've
even been known to make a person disappear once in awhile!)
Some people treat is as a tool for improvement (fix the red eyes, sharpen a fuzzy image, turn color
into black & white, etc.), some have elevated it to an art form, and some use it with ulterior motives
in an effort to make something appear to be other than it actually is (most of us have seen pictures
of the purported 250 pound rabbit or the 50 pound turnip -- and, sad to say, trickery abounds in
other matters less light-hearted, such as the frequent examples offered in many political forwards).
But there are people who go further than just improving the scene, their aim isn't to make subtle
changes, but to present a work of art that's clearly been created by a combination of camera
and computer.  Photo manipulation isn't new, it dates back almost as far as the invention of
the camera.  But, today, with editing software readily available, it's much more popular.
But we're not focusing on the devious today, we're focusing on the art.  I always enjoy
searching for Friday's Journal photographs, but, this week, was a real experience.  It brought to
mind a quote by John Jerome, made in the 1800's.  He was referring to Mardi Gras in New Orleans,
but I have no doubt he would have had similar feelings about some of the digital art I found:
"There are astonishing things to behold...things you have likely never seen before!"
All of the photos on this page have been, to a greater or lesser degree, digitally enhanced.
(But I thought it best to leave out some of the more "astonishing" examples.
:-)   -- Nancy
When I was a child, my grandfather used to have a saying he liked to use when he
caught me with my hand in the cookie jar and I immediately denied any wrong-doing
(all the while with cookie crumbs prominently displayed on my chin).  He'd say, "Now,
who am I supposed to believe...you or my lying eyes?"
I sometimes wonder what Grandpa would make of Photoshop.  I spent a lot of time
raiding my grandmother's cookie jar and the evidence was usually pretty clear.  But
digital photo (& even video) alteration has added a touch of irony to Grandpa's saying.
Seeing with our own eyes is no longer necessarily a good method of detection.
Nowadays, things aren't always what they seem - even when you're looking at them.
There's a lot that's good and beautiful on the information superhighway.  The internet
can be used for good or ill.  Like anything else, you get out of it what you want to.  My
advice would be to take the good and beautiful and leave the rest alone.  Just because
something arrives via the superhighway doesn't mean it's true - it only means it got
there faster.  
-- Joe Connelly
The photo above and the one below are good examples of not being able to believe what
you see.  I found them on different sites and it was only while I was looking over the pictures
later that I noticed the balloons in the two photos are exactly the same -- same balloons and
same placement.  Someone's taken the balloons and simply changed the setting.  Were
they originally in a starry sky over mountains or in a sunny sky over a wheat field?
Or someplace altogether different?
This rainbow was removed from its rightful place in a photo taken of mountains in the
Grand Canyon and given a new home over this tranquil lake a thousand miles away.
This is a composite of 16 different photos (taken in 13 different countries) that have been digitally manipulated
to make it look as if the Statue of Liberty, the Sydney Opera House, a castle in Denmark and several other
world landmarks share the same landscape.  To see the pictures that make up this montage,
click here.
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