On page 612 of Jeffrey Bardzell’s article, Interaction Criticism: An Introduction to the Practice, he quotes Lev Manovich and theory of transcoding in New Media. Transcoding means “the principle that computer files have both a computer layer and a cultural layer” (612).
When I read this quote (and I believe I read some of Manovich’s work when I was in Christians Briggs’s class, cause I know the theory of transcoding from somewhere), it reminded me of the video posted above from BuzzFeed. Photoshop is used as an example in Jeff’s article, so I will not repeat what he said here. What I want to focus on is the cultural layer of this video.
We often see models on the covers of magazines and automatically think, that is not the way he or she looks in real life, they have been Photoshopped. It is said these magazines and the practice of retouching photos to make people appear perfect has lead to increased instances of body dysmorphic disorder. What makes this video so different is that it shows the reactions of women after they have been put in the model’s situation and have photos of them altered, in order to meet what is called perfect. The reactions show they do no like what they look like, stating it does not look like them — going against everything these magazine covers are trying to show. Maybe the cultural layer of Photoshop should be seen more as making things unreal rather than improving photographs.