Jeff is undressed

Jeff (Victorian premier) stands in front of a crown of people with no clothes on
Image from the front cover of Good Weekend Magazine, July 31, 1993

I’ve kept this magazine article since 1993, and now I know why.

On the cover, Jeff Kennett (the Victorian Premier at the time) stood naked, addressing a crowd of people. My eyes were telling me one thing. My brain was telling me it couldn’t be true.

In 1993, Photoshop was 3 years old. I started using it in 1996.

I haven’t trusted the authenticity of a photo since the late 2000’s, when my Photoshop skills had improved considerably.

– I don’t believe product photos.
– I don’t believe advertising images.
– I don’t believe your holiday photos. Hell, I don’t even believe my own.

I assume every image has been retouched. It might be something small:

– white balance correction
– removing a pimple
– cropping, straightening or fixing perspective

Or, it could be a more significantly change that alters the image’s meaning.

With the sh$tstorm over retouching recently, I see a through line from the it-can’t-be-true image of Jeff Kennett, to where we are now.

Retouching isn’t new. Even old-timey black and white photos were altered. It’s about time we all caught up.

My advice to you is this:

Assume a photo isn’t telling the whole truth until proven otherwise. Not the other way around.

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