September 20th, 2006


Oh for crying out loud

Was reading Signal vs. Noise this morning and they pointed to a demo of a "feature" in some HP digital cameras. This feature, available in at least seven models of HP digital cameras, is called "slimming."

From the web site:
They say cameras add ten pounds, but HP digital cameras can help reverse that effect. The slimming feature, available on select HP digital camera models, is a subtle effect that can instantly trim off pounds from the subjects in your photos!
While the idea of the effect is obnoxious in itself, what is worse in my mind is that all of the models they use in the demonstration video are women. And not women that one would call "fat" by any reasonable measure. Perfectly healthy women that HP apparently believes need to be "slimmer."

For years professionals and talented amateurs have been able to accomplish this effect with photo editing software. Hell, they've been able to accomplish far greater feats of image manipulation; it's to the point that you should doubt the veracity of nearly any photo you see. Such things were undertaken, however, with falsification as their primary objective. The photo was not what was desired and a separate program was employed to alter that photo to match the user's artistic (or other) sensibility. This HP innovation puts the image editing directly in the camera, gives it an offensive name and directs people to save the results as the "truth." The altered photo is what will come out of the camera. The message is that "slimmer" is one of those things you should be; particularly if you are a woman.

Like women needed someone else to push that idea at them.