This lecture allowed us to see not only nature but also the body as a kind of landscape. It was interesting to explore the relationship between cosmetic surgery and the American visual culture. Plastic surgery, at first, was intended for restoring functions of the body, but then shifted to improving the aesthetic appearance associating health with beauty, a new vision of nature, and social status. Professor Sheehan revealed the central role that medical metaphors played in American photographic culture. She explored the ways in which medical models of discourse helped strengthen the professional legitimacy of certain practices within the commercial photographic community during the nineteenth century.
Also, I found interesting all the references to the terminology, such as “healing brushes”, taken from the semantic field of medicine and used in relation with photo-editing tools. Doctoring pictures, at some point, became the new frontier of remaking the body, since “no diet, no surgery, no pills” were required, “just a little digital wizardry”. And commercials helped to convey this idea. The mock ad of Fotoshop by Adobé claims “It’s you, perfected”, assuming the idea that all those natural things, like freckles, uneven pigmentation and wrinkles, detract from the beauty of the shot and need to be fixed. In a certain way, Photoshop “heals” the picture.
The new definition of professional photography seems now to be intrinsically related to digital photography and the digital doctoring of photography. The consumer of these images should be prepared to experience them with a critical eye.