Why is it that the burgers on the posters of McDonalds always look more appealing than the ones you actually get on your tray over the counter? This was a question asked recently by a customer in Toronto, Canada. Surprisingly, the Canadian outlet answered the question by creating a video to show what goes on behind the scenes to create the perfect burger (above). Whilst it only takes a couple of minutes to wait for your burger in-store, it takes at least a couple of hours to produce the ‘perfect burger’. One of the key specifications of the photo shoot is that only the ingredients used to make the actual burgers can be used. The main difference is the time and precision taken with every miniscule detail, including syringing tomato ketchup between pieces of onion.
Watching this video made me think back to the ethical issues I discussed in Project 4: Reality and intervention, considering what the limit of acceptability is for an image to be ‘photoshopped’. The project enabled me to accept that some digital manipulation is acceptable to show the image at its best, without altering the truth. However this video has led me to consider once again how the photographer’s intention can manipulate the final image. Workflow was very much the starting point for DPP and I took it as an opportunity to ensure my camera and I were prepared for the shoot ahead. However, I have realised that there are occasions where the subject can be prepared and manipulated to suit a particular intention. It is at this point that I am having to deal with conflicting views. Whilst I believe it is acceptable to use post-processing to enhance an image, I don’t agree with the idea of manufacturing a subject, like food, to create an ideal that is impossible to achieve. The consumer is enticed into the fast food restaurant with the promise of an impressive burger displayed on the window, but then they leave feeling deceived by being served with something that looks entirely different.