Mona Lisa in 1’s and 0’s

Discovered something interesting:
Portrait Professional
digital image software that “improves” the image by fixing imperfections in the face–from blemishes and acne, to facial structure and size problems!
In one way, this is really cool! Look at the before and after pictures. The geek in me can’t help but find this fascinating. Some (not all!) of the after pictures do indeed create “prettier” people.
But, the paranoid social sciences student in me is aghast! The power to “alter reality” williynilly!
Oh, photographs have been altered since photography was invented. Since portrait painting! Think Mona Lisa really looked exactly that good? Magazine cover artists airbrush and “perfect” beauty all the time.
But there’s something decidedly creepy about this. Granted, anyone with a little Photoshop skill can do what the software does…but now anyone without any skill can change the photo record of what someone looks like, meant for the ages (or at least until the picture decays), into something not quite real. We expect portrait paintings to be idealized. We expect marketing people to perfect beauty, but do we expect anything but “honesty” and “reality” from personal snapshots? They’re supposed to be moments in life, captured in medias res, and not polished and edited to remove imperfections.

The counter might be arguing for intent–this software is intended, as the sample images on the site imply, not for capturing that moment of candles being blown out on a cake or getting a hug from Goofy at Disneyland, but for people taking what is today’s version of the portrait or sculpture. Instead of spending hundreds or even thousands getting a professional glamour-shot with pre- and postproduction editing, do it yourself.

And I would. I would probably use that thing all the time. but, I still can’t help but feel like it’s a step closer to some cyber-distopian where there is no objective historical records of anything. Where all documentation is created and changed with bias.

…but then, I guess, aren’t ALL “historical records” of all sorts?