In the past, when we used to see an amazing photo, our first reaction would be “Wow!”. Nowadays, more often than not, it’s “Has this been photoshopped?”’.
The simple truth is that in the 21st century there are almost no media images that haven’t been tweaked in some form or another. Whether it be outlandish visual jokes or magazine covers with thinned hips or unblemished skin, every image we see has undergone a little adjustment. This may be as simple as levelling up an horizon line or darkening a bit of cloud or it could be removing an entire person. These alterations aren’t just visual tricks with ramifications in photography either, they can have real political effect. For example, how many people today are trying to attain celebrity looks despite their role model images not even being real?