Photoshop Fail, People's Republic of China edition


I thought they were looking at a puppet.


I don’t see the problem. The looks on the guys’ faces all seem to be saying the same thing: “Holy shit, lady, just how old are you?”

Although I am worried about the guy on the far right whose existence is being slowly erased. He should have known better than to get in Doc Brown’s flying DeLorean.


How on Earth does something like this get released? There’d have to be a workflow where unfinished photoshop jobs could get published without anyone involved actually being able to see the image for this to make sense. Either that or this is some sort of visual shorthand in China, where, when you can’t see what people are looking at in the picture, you stick the object of their gaze in the corner and fade it in… neither option seems particularly likely, however.

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Clearly, that’s Chinese Yoda.

Holy shit, I actually thought it was the other way around, with the “obviously fake” tiny lady poorly photoshopped in below that floating dude. Wow, kind of a trip.

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Forget the bad photoshop. I want this guy to emigrate the the US and run for public office in NY. I mean, is Weiner and Wang a dream ticket or what?


The difference is largely cultural and involves the difference between the use and purpose of illustration and the perceived, in Western eyes, misuse and purpose of photography.

The Chinese would rather not use photos at all, instead using woodcuts representing the scene distilling the essence of the situation that is being reported, but the loss of traditional skills and the pressures of time mean that the use of woodcuts is no longer feasible.

The tools of photography with their verisimilitude and seemingly verifiable veracity, as seen and used in the West, are not germane to relating the narrative.

Chinese photo editors are often poorly paid clerks who are told to cobble something together which shows the narrative. They are often, make that usually, not skilled enough to make a pixel by pixel photo composition where the finer points of Photoshop and the elimination of these lacunae are taken into consideration.

The even may not even have been covered by a photographer. Its a skilled profession and it costs money to send a photographer to make a record of an event. Posing the participants may also have been problematic. (Maybe one of attendees was in the bathroom or just not in frame at the time of the shot, or is relying on an unseen representative to relay the narrative of the event.)

The story editors don’t feel that its even necessary to have photographs taken since the written words, ideograms in these cases, are far more important that the mute image. The written account has flow, the photo is merely an instant in time.


Or, in short form, it’s an editorial illustration.


Precisely. In the same way that your reply is a picture which requires the context of my previous message and without which the essence of the sense is lost.

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He’s with her in spirit.

That’s what I was thinking.

Wait, I’m sorry — What?! Everything else you wrote was so on point that this bizarre statement just popped out of the page. Are you actually saying what I think you’re saying?


Yeah it’s a crazy thing to say. Woodcuts my butt. They would rather render the scene as a set of porcelain crockery.

Or some other ridiculous stereotype.

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I think the message trying to be conveyed was that the importance is that the picture conveys a narrative in the sense of “the hand of the image crafter should be seen” which means they are not worried that the image is a convincing fake, but that it illustrates the idea conceptually.

I’m not sure why woodcuts, except perhaps the fact to say maybe they’d rather have illustrators who showed artistic talent? Woodcuts are aesthetically pleasing in a way photoshop mock-ups are not.

I’m not sure the Chinese would like them particularly, but they might rather have full illustrations (rather like the animated news).

I’m not really sure I believe, though, that illustrators are any more expensive than photoshop hacks. That may be wrong, however, considering there’s a lot of demand for animators and illustrators.

It looks like this was more of a practical consideration - I have never seen woodcuts or anything similar being used to depict recent news stories, especially not online. I’d agree with your second guess that the photographer came back with some poor photos of the group. It looks like it was on a balcony, so maybe there was no picture with all of them together, the lighting was bad etc. The photo editor had to put something together with a bad set of photos and the vice-mayor wasn’t going to go back to visit the woman again to take more photos. It hardly matters in any case; it’s just a human interest story that no one’s going to see. It’s not like it’s going to go viral or anything…

… Or maybe I just didn’t get your joke

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