By Morgan Cannata
We’ve all seen a published photo of a model with a missing limb, pixie stick legs and an all too perfect complexion. With digital technology improving, more possibilities are becoming available. We wonder, just because we can do something, should we?
Julia Bluhm, a fourteen-year-old girl, started a “digital diets” petition against magazines’ Photoshop tactics. She asked Seventeen magazine to “show just one unairbrushed photo spread a month.” Julia said, “her peers are increasingly developing eating disorders and serious body image issues as a result of what they see as unattainable looks.”
Bluhm talked on Good Morning America about her petition’s goals and achievements. By the second week, her petition acquired over 25,000 signatures. After that, her petition racked up almost 85,000. A “body peace treaty” was complied by Seventeen Magazine’s staff in response to Bluhm’s petition. The treaty has eight vows including no airbrushing and changing models’ bodies and face shapes. The treaty acts as a public commitment striving to “feature real girls and models who are healthy, and be totally upfront about what goes into their photo shoots.”
Seventeen complying with a reader shows their commitment to the cause, but there was no vow to avoid Photoshop completely. They set parameters of unacceptable editing. However, editing models’ looks is still continuing. Photoshop will remain no matter how many petitions are signed.
Giles Fabris, photo retoucher, shared his views on editing images with Glamour. Giles is the CEO of lookbetteronline.com. It is a photo-retouching site where people pay to have images retouched of themselves, mostly for dating sites.
Giles believes the right photo of someone online can drastically change the way someone is perceived. Giles is capable of major photo-altering techniques, but tries to talk clients out of drastic changes that make them unrecognizable. Giles told Glamour he is “fine with erasing blemishes and lightening undereye circles.”
Seeing as Giles, a professional photo retoucher believes certain techniques and drastic changes are unethical shows major dilemmas.
It is difficult to find articles solely convinced that Photoshop is the right way all the way or the wrong way all the way. It’s a gray area. Like so many things in life, discretion is the best policy.
What do you believe are the ethics of Photoshop? How far should publications go, and is this an important issue with new technology emerging?