I began using Photoshop in high school when I worked on the yearbook! I remember absolutely loving the program for it’s ability to tweak certain aspects of photographs – exposure, contrast, color, etc. As I got further in to my college and professional career I grew to appreciate Photoshop for its design abilities and how it would help me take an idea and bring it to life. (I should mention I was an Advertising major and spent a lot of time in Art Direction classes!) In the years since however, I’ve come to realize that Photoshop, when used in the wrong way, can cause a lot of harm.
I recently came across a story about Meaghan Kausman, an Australian model. After a recent photo shoot, she was appalled when the swimwear company she modeled for used Photoshop to take her from a size 8 to a size 4! She decided to speak out against the use of Photoshop in such a way, and posted a before and after photo to her Instagram account. Look closely at the photo below: The top photo is edited, and the bottom photo is the original.
The company didn’t get permission from Meaghan OR the photographer to do such alterations, and has since taken the photo off their website/promotional material, as well as issued an apology.
Still, every time I come across a story like this it baffles me. We live in a society that on one hand preaches to women about self-confidence and loving our own bodies, and on the other hand spoon feeds us advertising suggesting we strive for a version of reality that doesn’t even exist – it was created by a computer program! Speaking as a woman and a photographer, I hope that one day we will see a little truth in advertising – at least in the imagery if not the message…
Bottom line, we should celebrate women of all shapes and sizes. In my opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the original, unedited version of Meaghan’s photo. However, if this company thought a size 4 was ideal for their swimsuit, they should have hired a size 4 model and used an unedited photo of her. Better to be honest than deceptive.
To read the full story click here.
Photo by Pip Summerville.