Friday, September 5, 2008

I'm Back on the Fence

Jebus. I'm back on the fence again.

After seeing "America the Beautiful," I've been spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about the often subconscious and very often insidious nature of the images we see each day, especially of women, that have been "tweaked" with programs like Photoshop.

Well, today I saw this story, and it really brings home the point. Faith Hill is a lovely woman. She's 39, and I think most would agree, above-average (at least) when it comes to beauty. Yet she couldn't grace the cover of Redbook (a magazine for women, mind you) without a major going-over:

Here's a funny rundown of all the changes made to this image for publication.

Now that I've spent some time mastering these digital manipulation techniques, I feel like I have the tools to do all these "tweaks," but now I'm faced with whether I SHOULD do them when the situation arises.

I think the key may be to decide where the line is. If you soften crow's feet, that's one thing. Removing them is wrong. If you adjust an unflattering aspect of a photo, one the subject agrees is an improvement, that's probably OK (even though your subject is often the result of being bombarded with unrealistic images of beauty their whole life). But changing someone's physique to try and present an image that's closer to some "ideal," well, that's wrong. Right?


Chris Robinson said...

Bottom line:

Making people feel ugly and fat sells products.

Misty said...

I think something that is key besides whether or not to touch up a photo is having a good pose in the first place. Faith Hill is a beautiful woman without the touch-ups, but that pose really accented some of the "flaws" they got rid of. For instance, her arm position and the fact that she is holding herself up and hunched over caused the strap and back of her dress to dig into her shoulder and back causing "back fat" (not to mention the illusion of a humpback). I think you could put an anorexic in that pose and still get that pouch. There are also parts of the touch-ups that I agree with: the lightening of the hair and skin to give her a glow and bring out her skin tone which the lighting had washed out. Otherwise, I'm with you. Softening of wrinkles is good, but complete removal just makes her look plastic. And slimming down her cheeks makes her look like an alien. Too bad they can't fix her singing.