HP “Slimming” Feature – Comedy, Accessibility, Social Commentary?

Select HP digital cameras can now make subjects look skinny. Seriously. Check out this link to the ‘slimming feature’ on the HP site.

So let’s contextualize this. In advertising photography image makers go to incredible (sometimes ridiculous) lengths to maximize how great a product or lifestyle should look. Put the zippiest finish on this image or that. Photoshop is the tool of choice here, noting it’s ubiquity and massive success. Professionals use it all the time–nearly every advertising image uses Photoshop in some capacity. It is an amazing tool. (Side note: I was recently hanging out with Thomas Knoll, the inventor and lead developer of Photoshop at a recent conference where we were both speakers…AMAZING guy. Literally talked to me about quantum physics in his descriptions of various Photoshop features…) Sorry to digress.

So, no debate, right?, image retouching has a significant role in advertising photography. Industry pros understand this. And I think most adult consumers are at least mildly aware (however what we choose to do with that knowledge differs widely).

But what about this new camera move by HP?? Average consumers can now make their subject skinny as a feature BUILT INTO THEIR CAMERA! Wow.

When I first saw this, I was at once humored, horrified, sympathetic, curious, shocked, confused and indifferent. It seems that the virtual permissions we have–as a culture–granted advertisers (perhaps willingly or inadvertently) to create images of products or lifestyles that ebb and flow with reality, has now transcended from big screens and the glossy pages of magazines into the family photo album.

No value judgment here. Just interesting. (Thanks Seth Godin for the link to the camera.)

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