Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Photoshop - Saint or Sinner?

Okay, so perhaps this topic has been reviewed over and over again to death, but I'd like to show you my perspective on it.

Every celebrity you see has been photoshopped; from magazine front covers to photo shoots, adverts, you name it. Apart from Paparazzi shots, that is.

My question: Is photoshopping fair?

It's come to light recently that adverts write in small print that editing has been used, i.e. photoshop on eyelashes/blemishes or hair extensions when selling a hair product like shampoo.

Is this false advertising? Well...yes and no.

YES: The product is trying to tell you exactly what it does, exactly how it works and exactly what the finished look should look like. But it's all a big fat lie in order to get sales.
NO : It's not false advertising because it does state (much to our annoyance) that it is, actually, a big fat lie. Or rather "This product does sort of make you look like this but we have enhanced the lashes to look an extra six inches long/put hair extensions in Cheryl Cole's hair to make her hair look thicker because we want you to think that this is what shampoo does when it doesn't really but we what you to think it does."

Which then kinda drags it to point Catch 22 situation. Bit like those annoying sofa ads where they exclaim "AND IT'S ON OFFER FOR UNDER £600!! YES, THAT'S RIGHT, IT'S FIVE NINE NINE, YES!!! ONLY FIVE NINE NINE!!!!!!!" because it really, actually is under £600, but only by a penny, a measley penny which really has no need for existence anymore because it means that little, so it might as well be £600, but saying it's under that amount even by only a penny because they used the number 5 instead of the number 6, it reels in buyers and the sofa people are left there thinking "Haaaahhh, suckers."

But anyway I digress. This is about photoshop and not sofas. (Forgive me for sounding slightly neurotic but I've spent hours reading and it's made my brain feel like it's on another plane. Seriously, forget drugs, it's all about a good novel.)

I remember flicking through one magazine and purposely looing for all the small print on every ad I saw. I saw one for lashes, and you know where the pages dip in the centre? I parted it a little bit and there was the small print saying the lashes had been extended via photoshop, right in the crease where your average joe would never see it. Cheeky.

So. it a friend or foe?

You see celebrities looking amazing so often that it can give a negative impact on some people. Sometimes people can look at a photoshopped celebrity and see that as the image of perfection, and then look at themselves and see that as an image of failure. So they can spend all the money in the world to try and look "perfect" or develop some eating disorder and ruin their organs or perhaps end up dead. And all for what? The lying lens.

Or, would you argue that anyone who looked at a photoshopped celebrity and thought it was all natural completely deluded and stupid? After all, we have brains and we can think for ourselves, but some simply choose to see and believe.

But of course, we do see celebrities without makeup/having fat days/getting spots yadda yadda yadda. This of course lets said-deluded-individual know that celebrities are human beings and have bad days like the rest of us. (However, with the paparazzi shots where celebrities can look like shit is definitely an invasion of privacy and not something I support.)

However, the fight is this: If we managed to cope without photoshop before it existed, why is it a necessity now?

If you saw a picture of a celebrity on the front of a glossy magazine, say, VOGUE, but looking totally normal instead of having skin that looked like butter, would you be interested in buying the magazine?
Apparently "we don't want to see celebrities looking normal, because we want people to aspire to *insert celebrity name here*."

Aspire to what, exactly? Aspire to look artificial?

It's true that you definitely look better when photoshopped, my face went under the mouse-knife recently and I have to say, I was freakin' grateful. My skin did look terrible that day so when I saw that I had bright eyes, white teeth and not a single spot in SIGHT, I was overjoyed. Didn't want my friends on Facebook seeing that, so I understand why celebrities might want to be photoshopped. Everyone has insecurities and no-one wants to be beaten down because of a spot/hair out of place/cellulite/stretch marks etc. Everyone wants to be seen at their best, no?

Which brings me to my next point. I saw these pictures on the Britney Spears fansite

"Britney has allowed two un-airbrushed photos from last year's Candies photoshoot by Mark Liddell to sit alongside the digitally-altered ones, so "people can see the difference," according to the Daily Mail.

Britney reportedly made the the extraordinary move "in order to highlight the pressure exerted on women to look perfect."

A source told the Daily Mirror newspaper: "Britney is proud of her body - imperfections and all."



So, what are your thoughts and opinions? What would like to see and/or prefer?



1 comment:

Wendi said...

An interesting topic Caz!! I enjoy seeing attractive people in magazines etc - but to me, some of the most attractive photos are of people overseas, with all their character written in the lines on their faces. I think as a society we seem to think flawless is what is to be envied. I look at my bank account and know that botox would never be an option - but I would not want it. Each line etc is there because of some experience or facial mannerism.
A long winded way of saying - let us accept people the way they are - instead of trying to "perfect" them - and giving young folk (and some older ones) the idea that perfection is the only way!!
Rant over :-D