Photoshop and Political Memes
On the road…again!!!
Afghanistan to Zambia
Chronicles of a Footloose Forester
By Dick Pellek
Photoshop and Political Memes
After years of seeing photoshopped scenes of natural beauty that were amplified into something beyond the grandeur that has existed since their inception, a weary Footloose Forester decided to speak out. He as much as anyone else is enthralled with the beauty of nature, but part of that enthrallment has to do with the magnificence that exists in raw and unadorned realities of spectacular landscapes from around the world. The Canadian Rockies don’t need amplification by photoshop to make them more magnificent than they already are. There is also natural beauty in many a pasture and village scene in the Alps where humans have dressed up their surroundings to provide life-long beauty for all to enjoy. The landscapes may have been altered, but not the photos to make them into something that is beyond real. Unfortunately, even spectacular mountains are sometimes photoshopped into images that exaggerate the realities on the ground. Photoshop has been hijacked to meet purposes that are sometimes unclear but distortion of the truth is the result.
The most flagrant violations of reality are perhaps the political memes that transport and transpose the images of political enemies by blending them into hurtful and most often dishonest messages that appeal to our craven emotions. Alas, the plethora of political memes constitutes fake news and the practice is growing by leaps and bounds. Partisan political memes are taking the art of photoshop to ever uglier heights. But the purpose of this chronicle is to demonstrate that photoshopped images of natural landscapes can be so clever and convincing that many, if not most, people profess their awe regarding images that are wholly or partially fake. So too, do many people mindlessly revel in the phony and amateurish political memes that distract and divide us as citizens.
One reason why the Footloose Forester chose to use his masthead On the road…again!!! instead of an alternate Essays, Stories, Adventures, Dreams is rooted in his personal recollection about some of the places that he has visited and that have subsequently been photoshopped to make them appear more spectacular. He is offended that photoshop is the weapon of choice to fool us, WOW us, deceive us and entice us into the sophistry that is being peddled in photography and in politics.
Perhaps not everyone keeps track of alterations in the truth, so it would be best to present some evidence so that the readers can decide for themselves what seems to be photoshopped. Bear in mind that at the heart of the matter is a propensity of some people to engage in sophistry in order to massage their egos.
Photographic files with various dimensions and formats notwithstanding, the examples shown below should be challenged regarding their origins and the veracity of depictions. As always, geographic coordinates would help an interested reader to attempt to locate the actual sites from whence they were usurped and turned into photoshopped fantasies. Other photos will be added as examples after the issue of file format has been overcome.
The anonymous person posting this declined to say where in the world this exists
Zion National Park is a real place, but you won't find this phony trail there
There are many other photoshopped fantasies that might someday be added to this chronicle, but the point has been made. We should question what we see, what we hear, and what we read; especially when sophistry is one tool used to deceive us about the natural world and the world of politics.