Candidates Resort to Photoshop to Embellish their Image

30-12-2012 12:00 AM

Ammon News - By Majed Dabbas

AMMONNEWS - Several candidates running in the upcoming parliamentary elections are using enhancement techniques to improve their image on campaign advertisement material, including photoshopping their own pictures to "maintain their youth."

Citizens have been noticing the enhanced and embellished images posted on large placards hanging in streets throughout the kingdom.

"Thanks to photoshop," Muhammad Manasra, and eligible voter, told Ammon News while looking at hundreds of pictures of candidates posted on the Fourth Circle across from the Prime Ministry headquarters.

"Whoever looks at pictures of candidates notices the difference from how they look in reality," Mansara added.

Another candidate used photoshop to blacken his graying hair, presenting a more youthful image of himself, perhaps in attempt to appeal to the youth generation, who are coming to take a more active role in political affairs.

"This is definitely the picture the candidate used when he wanted to get married," Mutasem Abu Shiekha, a youth eligible voter from Sweileh district in Amman observed sarcastically, noting that he personally knows the candidate, a former member of parliament, whose hair turned gray throughout the years since the last elections.

On this new phenomenon, Professor of Psychology at the University of Jordan, Marwan al-Zoubi, notes that people are influenced by first impressions of the candidates' outer appeal, but this does not last long.

He adds that the affect of outer looks mostly plays part with unknown candidates, but in reality, looks should not matter since it is the political ideology and perspective that ultimately "should" influence voters' decision when casting their ballots.

Yet not everyone votes based on political ideology and interests, as Haneen, a female youth eligible voter notes when describing a "handsome" candidate running in her district.

"He is the hottest candidate," she adds, explaining that his physical features are influential especially for females who are captivated by physical beauty.

Haneen does not agree with Dr. Zoubi, who argued that voters do not vote based on looks, but rather on political ideology.

She notes that candidates use slogans, but do not really present a political platform, hence, many voters will be influenced by looks rather than substance.

Yet others find the new embellishing trends "obnoxious." Mohammad Ajarmeh, another eligible voter, considers gray hair to be a sign of reverence and poise, while giving the excuse to some candidates who use old photos as a means to save money by using campaign advertisement material used in previous elections.

Professor of Sociology at the University of Jordan Hilmi Sari notes that the use of old photos of candidates are sometimes done in part to maintain a frame of reference to those who voted for him or her in previous elections.

"The old picture says to the voters, I am so and so, the candidate who promised you services for years, do you remember me? I am running again," Professor Sari notes.

For candidates using previous photos of themselves in new campaign ads, professor Sari argues that this method is not necessarily indicative of attempts to present a "youthful" image, but rather to indicate consistency.

He relays that a candidate friend of his who ran in the 1997 elections is using the same picture of himself today, and running under the same slogan he used over 15 years ago.

"He wants to voters that he is consistent on his positions and campaign platform, and the old picture and slogan are indicative of his continuity and steadiness," Sari adds.

At the end, public opinion and casted ballots will be judge of whether the new trends of presenting "youthful" images, are effective, whether it is by using old photos, or by embellishing and photoshopping real and current ones.

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