Image Change You Can Believe In

The picture I chose was the widely circulated President Obama in a swimsuit. I selected it mainly because I knew that many would recognize it and perhaps my manipulations would become transparent more readily to the viewer. I edited this photo to look like President Obama was in fact in an African landscape, implying a question of his heritage. While Obama was a presidential candidate, there were certain factors of the media that circulated the idea that Barack Obama was not, in fact, American and therefore could not run for president of the United States. While this was all going on, I thought it was just a tad ridiculous that opponents of Obama were grasping at questioning the birth location of a fellow American.
The Obama picture surfaced in the tabloids a while back and I remember it becoming a fairly popular point of discussion because of how impressed the public was with Obama’s fit physique. The editing I did was essentially getting rid of the beach background that originally surrounded the President, then putting the photo on an image of an African landscape, complete with rhinoceros in the background. I then changed the vibrance, brightness and coloration to imitate the effect of the sun beating down on the image—I also wanted to make it slightly darker so that there was a more sinister feeling to the image. This manipulation was clearly harmful in that it falsely conveys the roots of the president to cater to rumors spread by opponents who decided to challenge the then presidential candidate in ways unrelated to policy or objectives; however, it was also meant to be satirical and I think that this sort of project draws attention to how easy it is for people to manipulate images to attempt to sway popular perspectives and opinions. The article I cite below offers a discussion of the current epidemic of photographic manipulation in the media and discusses how it can be unethical to do certain edits to photographs, especially when they are being published for greater society’s intake.
Greer, Jennifer D., and Joseph D. Gosen. “HOW MUCH IS TOO MUCH?.” News Photographer 57.7 (2002): 4. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 4 Apr. 2011.

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