When will fashion be real?
MOST readers of fashion magazines are aware that all photographs, at least to some degree, lie. More often than not, images have been altered — historically with painstaking tricks of lighting and exposure and, more recently, with retouching software that can make celebrities and models look thinner, taller, unblemished, with brighter eyes and whiter teeth. Seemingly perfect.
The ethical issues of retouching have been discussed at least since the 1930s, when George Hurrell manipulated characteristics of Hollywood actresses in photographs to make them into icons of glamour. But technology has changed the scope of the debate, fueling a long-held criticism that magazines are promoting an unattainable standard of beauty.
In the early 1990s, as the first programs for digital manipulation came into use, some art directors began exploring the potential for creating images with a heightened sense of reality, actually as a reaction against the prevailing images of supermodels that looked too perfect.
Photoshop, the go-to graphics editing program that got a foothold in the 1990s, has become so ubiquitous that most of us gaze at faces, bodies and landscapes, not even registering that wrinkles have been diminished, legs lengthened and the sky honed to a dream-like shade of blue. And, unlike its predecessor, airbrushing, anyone can use it.
Here are a few pictures of celebrities and models who have been on the Photoshop-diet.
Kim Kardashian (above) has practically made a living off her curvaceous figure. But she was looking a little less shapely in Complex magazine. Her body has been reduced by about a dress size, her legs have been smoothed to near-perfection, and even her skin has been lightened.
Kimora Lee Simmons (pictured below) was famously fired as CEO of Baby Phat for going over budget, and paying herself exorbitant fees for ad campaigns even though she used body doubles. Thousands of dollars were spent on airbrushing her because she is a size 10 not size 0. Apparently, the photographer would shoot another model in the clothes, and take Kimora’s head and put it on the body of the model. And it’s quite obvious when you look at the pictures below. Does she think the public is stupid? She actually looks sick in the ad campaign picture. Her head is clearly too big for the body!
After looking at the above pictures, I decided to see exactly what the Photoshop-diet does. Now anyone who has seen me knows that I’m not overweight or anything. But who better to try it on than myself. I watched a few tutorials and spent an hour or two working in Photoshop, but I think illustrated the point I am trying to get across. Please note that I am no professional, so it’s not perfectly Photoshopped, but I did try.
You will notice in the above picture that my breasts have been enlarged, my thighs and overall body shape has been thinned, and my arms are drastically thinner. Its a small difference, but a difference none the less. Oh and, the strings on the bikini bottom have become distorted (I’ll say it again, I’m no professional).
I think that the perfect bodies we see in our favourite magazines have a terrible effect of how women feel about their own bodies. It no wonder approximately 8 million Amercians and 1 million South Africans have an eating disorder. And those are just the recorded numbers. What’s even sadder is that this is the kind of society we are bringing children into. I’m by no means saying that its OK for people to be obese, I just think that the standards that we are held up to are kind of ridiculous. Living a healthy lifestyle, regardless of your size should be the most important thing.