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The ghost in the college-admissions machine

Posted by Christopher Shea  August 20, 2008 11:23 AM

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College brochures and Web sites are famous for their ostentatious diversity: Photographers never fail to capture that moment when an infeasibly good-looking group of black, white, Asian, and Latino friends strolls, laughing and smiling, through a campus's finest archway.

Towson University, in Maryland, on its man Web page, elected to single out one happy and attractive African American student. But wait: What's that reflected in her laptop screen? Could it be the return of the repressed -- a hint of a slightly less diverse, slightly less photogenic student body? The ghost of a less polished reality?

towson.jpg

The photograph showed up on the delightful site PhotoshopDisasters, the assumption being that a misguided graphic designer cut-and-pasted that reflection, to make the computer look more "real." But, last I checked, commenters were edging toward the conclusion that this was just a badly planned shot (with the image reversed, which would explain why the "Towson" on the sweatshirt is legible). Maybe a little Photoshop deletion would have helped.

This, in contrast, is an undisputed Photoshop disaster, from a furniture catalog.

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