We are all familiar with skin product campaigns featuring models who never seem to get any older, but how many of us still take these images on face value?
The practice of digitally enhancing images of models is commonplace within the industry. In some cases it can add depth or drama to a shot – the technique can be employed to adjust colour or contrast. Post-production touch-ups may be used to remove a temporary blemish on the face of a model, or even to remove some unwanted background in the image.
Some would argue that a certain amount of creative licence should be afforded the photographer in this, the age of technology. However, at what point does it become less about art and more about artifice?
To enhance an image artistically is one thing. To deceive the public is quite another.
It seems that consumers are becoming less patient with those who take digital manipulation too far and recently this has been highlighted once again, following Olays latest campaign, which featured a virtually unrecognisable Twiggy.
The magazine advert combined an image in which Twiggy had clearly been re-touched around the eye area, with the words Because younger-looking eyes never go out of fashion and claims that their product reduces the look of wrinkle and dark circles for brighter, younger-looking eyes
The Advertising Standards Authority received complaints that the advert was misleading and it has subsequently been banned.
Incidents such as this are disappointing for a number of reasons.
Some may say that it makes a mockery of the product and is deceitful in terms of what the product may have done for Twiggy and/or could do for the consumer!
Also, it does appear to promote the idea that there is something wrong with a very attractive woman having a few wrinkles.
Maybe most importantly is the fact that manipulating images in this way gives the more vulnerable amongst us an impossible ideal to live up to. Illnesses relating to body image are a serious problem facing todays society, and a new approach to advertising could help to reduce the number of young girls falling foul to body image issues that may cause eating disorders (http://www.prlog.org/10337754-how-models-directly-influence-young-womens-health-attitude-and-wellbeing.html) or cause older women to risk having unnecessary surgical procedures to make themselves appear younger.
Despite setbacks like this there have been some encouraging changes in the modelling and entertainment industries this year (http://www.prlog.org/10330645-real-models-direct-from-town-near-you.html). Older, fuller figured and ethnically diverse models have increasingly been seen on the catwalks and in photographic campaigns. This is a hugely constructive development, long overdue in the eyes of Models Direct and many others. It has been met with genuine enthusiasm and positivity from the public, who wish to see a more inclusive attitude adopted in the media. This breath of fresh air is tarnished when the very thing that made it positive is then disguised, and in a way that insults the consumers intelligence, not to mention their looks.
No face cream can eradicate every wrinkle from the under-eye of a mature woman and whats wrong with a wrinkle on a mature woman anyway?
Many people feel that Olay made a mistake with this image. The airbrushing was generally felt not to be complimentary to Twiggy, who looks beautiful, just as she is pre-Photoshop.
We are getting so much closer as a society to celebrating our differences, lets not back track now!
Beauty isnt limited to any age, colour or size.
So, manufacturers please, continue using older, fuller figured and ethnically diverse models to represent your consumers of all ages, sizes and races. The reactions of consumers to extensive digital enhancement and issues like the size zero debate tell us that society needs a change, and it is down to those influencing what we see as normal to approach advertising in a responsible manner.
About Models Direct – (http://www.modelsdirect.com/)
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