Usually photoshop is done for comic effect, or to clean up or composite an image to make a point. Sometimes it is done in jest, sometimes with malice (e.g. skankhunt42). But sometimes it is just plain stupid – and stupid can have real world implications. To wit, the Arrival poster that shows the alien craft hovering above Shanghai. Only problem is that it is Hong Kong in the picture, with a single Shanhai building photoshopped into the image. Now this isn’t just a clueless art intern picking the wrong stock image and putting it up – they did have to manipulate the image to include the Pearl tower from Shanghai. So it was willfully clueless.
And politically insensitive. Tensions continue to increase in Hong Kong as it transitions from British colony to part of China. But to those in Hong Kong, it will always be independent – hence the friction. This imagery then reads quite inflammatory – to the extent that no doubt Arrival will sell less tickets in Hong Kong. End of the world? Perhaps not, but yet another cautionary tale in having a clue about the power of images and the repercussions from lazy digital manipulation.