Photoshopping “Diversity”


In 2001, the University of Wisconsin-Madison published the admissions brochure above. All seems right, doesn’t it? The photograph shows students having fun at what appears to be a Badgers football game. As it turns out, one of the students wasn’t even there. Diallo Shabazz, the only African-American student visible in the photo, hadn’t attended the game. In fact, his photo had been taken in 1994 and had been hastily added to the photograph (taken in 1993), all in an effort to show the school’s diversity. Before and after images can be seen below.


The University’s undergraduate admissions director, Rob Seltzer, said his office spent the summer months looking for pictures that would show the school’s diversity, but had no luck. Universities demonstrating how “diverse” they are is certainly not new. And you might well imagine our own admissions brochure similarly featuring a nice cover photograph of a racially balanced group of students appearing to chat with one another on the mall. So what’s the difference between this sort of staged photograph and what the University of Wisconsin did? What are the ethics here?



Chrysler aired the TV commercial above, featuring Eminem, during the 2011 Super Bowl. It went on to win numerous awards. The online spot below was done by Audi in May 2011. When it comes to art and to advertising, creative people are always being influenced by other creative people.

But when does influencing stop and plagiarizing begin? Eminem’s Detroit-based publisher, Eight Mile Style, filed a cease-and-desist order in Germany in an effort to stop Audi from using the rapper’s Oscar-winning song “Lose Yourself” in the spot. “Apparently someone believes that the definition of copyright laws is the right to copy others’ materials, including world-renowned successes created by Chrysler Group brands,” Chrysler Group spokesman Gualberto Ranieri said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

What do you think?

Source: The Hollywood Reporter