life is ‘photo-shopped’

I find I am constantly having to justify my use of photo-shop when ‘processing’ the raw data that my camera captures. Why is this? Isn’t all life photo-shopped?

Two views of the same doors?

Glance away from your screen for a moment and focus on a distant object. What do you see? All the other clutter surrounding you? Probably not. But if you took a photograph of the view from where you are it would include lots of distracting paraphernalia. Our brain does the processing – the ‘photo-shopping’ if you like. To some extent we see things the way that we want them to be. Our interpretation is individually unique. The way we see the world depends on our previous experiences and the filters we use.

This is nicely demonstrated by our use of Twitter (which if you don’t use, I fully recommend). You can browse the global ‘community’ of Twitter but much of what we read is filtered and restricted to those parts of the twitter world that speaks to our prejudices. I rarely read anything on my twitter feed that I disagree with as I don’t ‘follow’ disagreeable folk. Well, Toby Young is an exception – it’s good to be provoked into a disagreeable rant from time to time even if he must work particularly hard to maintain such a high output of such right wing cant.

And given that Twitter to some extent just mimics other social interactions (although you are restricted to a sort of grunting) by implication we ‘photo-shop’ our social world all of the time. We almost always only mix with those who can be considered ‘one-of-us’. Which brings me to one of my recent pet-hates…..Radio 4. Is it getting worse or am I just becoming increasingly aware of how Radio 4 speaks not with and to people of different classes and backgrounds? To be more direct – across Radio 4 programming there is a tendency to speak about and with the working classes, and to some extent anyone with a regional accent, in a way that makes it quite clear that they are not ‘one-of-us’. I’m beginning to get increasingly irritated by this. Just one recent example was James Naughtie’s interviewing of three women medal Olympic medal winners on the Today programme. It was absolutely clear which one Naughtie considered as ‘one-of-us’ and it wasn’t Nicola Adams!

Rant over! So we ‘photo-shop’ our own personal world all the time! Should I worry – certainly not as it makes it easier to deal with. But there are dangers as we can see with the ‘photo-shopping’ that we witness in the ‘difficult decisions’ that the millionaires in the current government cabinet have been making. It seems important to me that we are aware that we are photo-shopping and sanitizing the messiness of the world in which we live to our own personal preferences and prejudices. Maybe in 2013 we should experiment with some new filters and enlarge our ‘photo-shopped’ world!