18 February 2014

The power and prevalence of airbrushing (part III)

Today we're going to look at the other side of the photoshop phenomena -  'reverse photoshop'? Reverse photoshop? Instead of taking healthy models and making thin look more skinny, it's taking shinny models and making thin look more healthy.

In this article Jane Hardy, former Cosmo editor, talks about reverse photoshop and the risks she now recognises. And she's not alone...

"The editor of the top-selling health and fitness magazine in the U.S., Self, has admitted: 'We retouch to make the models look bigger and healthier.' ... And the editor of British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, has quietly confessed to being appalled by some of the models on shoots for her own magazine, saying: 'I have found myself saying to the photographers, "Can you not make them look too thin?"' ... Robin Derrick, creative director of Vogue, has admitted: 'I spent the first ten years of my career making girls look thinner -and the last ten making them look larger.'  "

Jane Hardy talks about a woman who turned up for a photo-shoot... "Not only was she so frail that even the weeny dresses, designed for catwalk models, had to be pinned to fit her, but her body was covered with the dark downy hair that is the sure-fire giveaway of anorexia.
Naturally, thanks to the wonders of digital retouching, not a trace of any of these problems appeared on the pages of the magazine. At the time, when we pored over the raw images, creating the appearance of smooth flesh over protruding ribs, softening the look of collarbones that stuck out like coat hangers, adding curves to flat bottoms and cleavage to pigeon chests, we felt we were doing the right thing. 
Our magazine was all about sexiness, glamour and curves. We knew our readers would be repelled by these grotesquely skinny women, and we also felt they were bad role models and it would be irresponsible to show them as they really were. 
But now, I wonder. Because for all our retouching, it was still clear to the reader that these women were very, very thin. But, hey, they still looked great!

"Thanks to retouching, our readers - and those of Vogue, and Self, and Healthy magazine – never saw the horrible, hungry downside of skinny. That these underweight girls didn't look glamorous in the flesh. Their skeletal bodies, dull, thinning hair, spots and dark circles under their eyes were magicked away by technology, leaving only the allure of coltish limbs and Bambi eyes.They had 22-inch waists (those were never made bigger), but they also had breasts and great skin. They had teeny tiny ankles and thin thighs, but they still had luscious hair and full cheeks.

"A vision of perfection that simply didn't exist. No wonder women yearn to be super-thin when they never see how ugly thin can be. "

Definitely food for thought... 

Healthy magazine's cover star Kamila as she appears normally

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