Digitally Edited Images Create Unattainable Expectation

As the popularity of digital photography has exploded over the past 10 years so has everyone’s propensity to attain that “perfect” image.   Oftentimes, photographers will tweak or adjust things in an attempt to make them stronger images.  I think the most common editing you will see is skin smoothing or blemish removal.  You probably see this everyday on the magazine racks filled with celebrity faces.  In other cases of digital editing, the images are just flat out lies of dropping in elements that were never there or in the case of some countries, adding missles that they didn’t even launch or for some big software companies, replacing people (very poorly).

While digital editing has its purposes, particularly in advertising, to tweak and fix things to create cohesive brand image, many people are suggesting that editing is going to extremes, particularly pertaining to the female image, and creating an unattainable expectation.  What is that doing to the public?  What is that doing to the health of young women?  What is that doing to men’s expectations of a woman?

… Many are trying to address the concerns…

The French want health warnings on their photos in this UK Telegraph article.

NYDaily News article highlights a Ralph Lauren ad that went to extremes.

And the NYTimes says warning labels might be an option.

As a side note, several years ago, when talking to a professional post production specialists from New  York, they told me stories about how for some of the top female models in the industry, there would be a checklist of 25-30 things that had to be done to “fix” the model before the image could get published.  And this was all contractually mandated.  So to think, if supermodels need things fixed, what does that say about normal people?

I’m sure this is nothing new to most people, butI guess the moral of the story is to enjoy the images/visual work, but do not necessarily believe what you see.  And parents try to teach your kids appropriately about self esteem.


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