Religion Magazine

Is Cheating Ok?

By Richardl @richardlittleda

Photo- manipulation and the neutrality of technology

Yesterday morning, over my early morning cup of tea, I joined my voice with a small chorus of disquiet spreading across the internet. Like many others, I was disturbed that the official photographic company at numerous university graduations had been offering something of an ‘enhanced menu’.  Amongst other things it offered:

Menu options on offer...

Menu options on offer…

Clearly no-one was obliged to take up on the options. However, the suggestion that a billowing gown or a less-than-perfect smile could somehow detract from a graduate’s achievement was surely preposterous?  Can we really join the campaign spearheaded by people like Malala to call for universal education around the world, if on graduation day we suggest that a person’s smile or their figure is what matters most?

Calming down a little, I took another drink of tea and came across the story of Nathen Steffel, a grieving father in Ohio. Distraught over his baby daughter’s death, he posted an unusual request online. Since his only photo of his daughter showed her surrounded by tubes in a cot on the neo-natal unit, he asked if anyone could remove them from the photo so he didn’t have to remember her that way? He was overwhelmed by the response from around the world. People were staying up until all hours working on the photos and he was staying up until all hours looking at them. He commented ‘It helped knowing that others cared enough to stop whatever they were doing in their own lives to either send me a picture or just their condolences’.


One of MANY before-and-afters

One of MANY before-and-afters

The pictures, of course, are ‘cheating’ – since they depict a reality which the camera did not see. Does the end justify the means in this case though, do you think?

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