Tag Archives: advertising

Retouching, from the view point of the retouchers!


Zack, who works in the art department at a major magazine, added that “with the exception of maybe wrinkles being smoothed out, nearly all the retouching I’ve seen or done is to correct or change a choice made by another creative in the process….[like] I once had to change a subject’s wig color–a choice by the stylist–to one that made the shot more aesthetically pleasing.” Andrew, a retoucher with 20 plus years of experience did admit that he was once asked to alter a shot of Kate Moss to “flatten out a little bit of a curve where her pants were.” He’s also lifted bust lines and smoothed butts.

Obviously it happens, but it sounds like girls’ bodies are not altered so as to be unrecognizable. Tamara, another professional retoucher with decades of experience, said of her work with health and fitness pubs, “[We aren’t] over-slimming. Maybe just pushing in a little bit here and there where the camera might have exaggerated a side, but there still is a camera and there still is lens distortion, so sometimes itʼs just correcting that.” Whatʼs also ironic is that sheʼs “fixing” a lot of bad plastic surgery to make it look more natural. Too-bright tooth laminates and ubiquitous fake-looking hair extensions are also common issues.

What everyone agreed on is that photographers generally don’t spend as much time on shoots as they used to. The prevailing attitude seems to be, as Andrew said, “‘Oh donʼt worry about that theyʼll fix it in post-[production].ʼ” Tamara said the stylists will just pin up a garment and not iron anything because they know it can be taken care of later.

But with a little twist this video, by Buzzfeed (18 Unreal Magazine Photoshop Fails) is a comical look at some of the fails that the industry puts out accidentally.


Its also interesting that the picture of Oprah Winfrey was highlighted as I used that example in my dissertation.


No Photoshop Movement – Michigan Times Article

Article by Emily Legleitner, Michigan Times.  Published 17/02/2014 which discusses the effects of companies (such as Aerie) and the effects that their ‘no photoshop’ movement may have.  Backed up by evidence from Jean Kilbourne (who has dedicated the last 40 years to studying the effects of media and advertising on body image) it discusses how these photoshopped images, although maybe only viewed fleetingly, have a lifetime effect on our thoughts subconsciously.  It touches upon the way that advertising campaigns affect men as well, through their depiction of masculinity and virility, focussing on the tougher side of men which can pose a threat to mens subconscious.   This is particularly interesting to me as it is something that has come up in group crit sessions about advertising being a subject that affects men and is not a purely female problem.


This is a good link to a New York Times opinion editorial on the subject of photoshop.



Verily magazine


Jean Kilbourne


PDF studyguide to go along with Jean Kilbourne’s Killing Me Softly 4 package on the effects of media on women.


Body shaming in the media.

In all probability I think that this would be a huge list if I had the time to look through each link and to search for separate celebrities who have been fat shamed in the media in the last 12 months.  Instead I have just picked the top few for this post under the google search term of ‘celebrity body shaming’, to give an idea of who and why people are shamed.  It really is pretty sad that in a world screaming out for equality in everything instead people, and writers in the media, forget that people have the right to enjoy their own diverse bodies without criticism.  Health is the key – if people are healthy and happy then we need to exercise some discretion and be kind to others with our words and thoughts.

Pink, the singer, is here criticised for her weight – she looks super fit to me and very pretty.



Another article put together features the above Pink reply, and also the ‘attack’ on Kelly Clarkson by Katie Hopkins, as well as other celebs.



This video clip from youtube that features the model, Tyra Banks, talking about the fat shaming she experienced is very emotional, and the response from the women in the studio audience show just how much women are affected by this type of behaviour.

And it would seem that the body shaming has no qualms about criticising pregnant women too.  This report shows that women are shamed for being too fat, too thin (pregorexia is the derogatory term used here!), or anything in between.


Now I really love this twist on the troll’s and fat shamers.  This man was filmed at a party having fun and a dance.  Somehow it made its way onto the social media scene and the poor man was absolutely ripped to pieces and teased for being fat.  Then a wonderful thing happened – people worldwide started defending the chap and sticking up for him.  In the end the chap was traced and a huge party was thrown for him!



What I find sad about all this body and fat shaming is that people fat shame themselves.  It seems to be a ‘normal’ part of life to be criticised for your body shape and weight, with some teens giving up on feeling good about their bodies, perhaps forever!  I came across a teen acronym that is currently being used – DUFF – and the phrase on a t-shirt saying “I’m somebody’s DUFF”.  What does it mean?  Well the acronym is for the saying “Designated Ugly Fat Friend”.  How sad that a label needs to be put on someone in a group of friends.  Its almost like saying you should only be friends with people who look like your body shape or else your only purpose is to make the slimmer people look better!  If this is the type of teen talk that is going on then its time to move, and fast, to educate these people on diversity and kindness to other humans!



Its not just women celebrities that are criticised.  Texas Ranger MLB star, Prince Fielder, received huge amounts of hate and body shaming for this image.



This is an interesting article to finish with by Jessi Andricks on Body Shaming.  Jessi is a health coach, yoga instructor and health blogger.  She says in the article:

Treat your body kindly. Nurture it and love it. Feed it with nourishing food and movement. Do things that make you feel good on a deeper level and you’ll notice the surfaces changes don’t matter quite as much. 

Drop the ideas of perfection.Tell your body it is beautiful and absolutely, perfectly, imperfect. These are your unique qualities and traits that you deserve to be proud of. 

Look at yourself and notice the things that you love, not the things you hate. Focus on the positive and the negative won’t seem as prevalent. 

Take action now and do one thing today to quit the body shaming and start living your life.


Plus sized models – Healthy bodies should be the goal.

Looking through my random pins on my Pinterest account I rediscovered this e-zine on issue.com which talks about plus sized models and their insight into the business.  Fantastic magazine that is full of positive images of models larger than a UK size 8 (although I still can’t see how this is considered to be a plus size!).  There are even advertisements in it from modelling agencies that celebrate curves (like IPM Model Management) that state that they take plus sized models from 8 – 18 sizes (This still shocks me immensely that this is considered a plus size when so many women are well into those sizes as normal) but the blurb on the agency home page states that they:

“We‘re always striving to push the envelope of beauty and today more than ever before, our models range in sizes from 6 to 18. We strive in working with models that live a clean healthy lifestyle. With well proportionate curves that show what a healthy woman body looks like.” (IPM Model Management)

Below is a screen shot from one spread of the plusmodelmag.com magazine, featured on issuu.com, which emphasises the use of ultra slim models in the fashion industry compared with a ‘normal’ sized woman.

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 11.35.38

Although this may be one step closer to achieving a fair portrayal of what a real woman looks like and to act as achievable goals for other women it should be noted that each larger model has still undergone a huge ‘Photoshop’ treatment (for example, on hair, blemishes and skintone).  So, although they mean well, and obviously have a lot of investment to protect by selling their plus sized models to the fashion industry we are not yet completely there for the ‘real women’ thing in an unbiased and honest way.

Ultimately there should be a range of body sizes featured in all fashion magazines with the emphasis on ‘healthy’ models and there needs to be a push for less ‘body shaming’ in the media and more models with healthy bodies and also a healthy mindset.  I feel that then size would be irrelevant if these were the revered goals.


Data Collection for Dissertation via SurveyMonkey.

As part of my research for my dissertation and my specialist production I have used Survey Monkey to produce a short questionnaire on thoughts on body image manipulation.

There are only 10 questions as this was the limit for a free survey.  The questions are short and are multiple choice so that they do not take too long to complete.  I have also kept the questions fairly vague so as not to raise topics that would need me to get permissions from the university ethics board and so that nothing in them would be too distressing or cause people to overthink the study.

This questionnaire is far from perfect and my investigations into the workings of surveys needs to be much deeper to understand how to get the best from them.  Also, obviously, a budget is helpful to get the questionnaire out to the public.  It is the beginning of a long journey I think, but a whole new avenue into first hand research.

Update on my questionnaire

My questionnaire has now been online for 12 hours and I have found that because it is a free version the amount of data that I can collect is limited (you can upgrade for a fee though).  If like me you do not need that much detail but were interested in seeing how far the questionnaire has reached (without putting it as a question obviously!) you can locate the area of the country/world that your respondent comes from you can copy and paste their IP address into your browser which will give you an approximate location.

The questionnaire can be found at:


Dove Advertisement – Beauty Sketches

Posted on YouTube this video involves a member of the San Jose police force who draws a photofit of a woman as described by herself, and then again as described by another member of the public.  The two images are vastly different, and the artist only draws what he is told, he has no visual contact with either of the people.  Its an emotional video and tells us a lot about how we ‘fat shame’ ourselves and how we think.

“Women are their own worst beauty critics,” Dove says. “Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful … we decided to conduct a compelling social experiment that explores how women view their own beauty in contrast to what others see.” Dove.


Dove Photoshop Action

A further development that I have found out about was this campaign that was aimed at the people who edit, manipulate and design images of women that have unrealistic bodies in the media and was disguised as a photoshop action which was free to download.  The action, once deployed, turns the image back to its unedited state with a message from Dove saying “Don’t manipulate our perceptions of real beauty” (see screen grab below from video).

Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 13.01.15

The Photoshop action — a downloadable file that applies an action with a single click — is aimed at art directors who may be creating such ads. The action, which was disseminated on Reddit and other places where Dove thought such art directors might visit, promised to add a skin glow effect, but actually reverted the image to its original state.

It would be interesting to see how the media industry viewed this campaign and if it had any real effect on anyone.  There are plenty of comments under the video/post about it which do not seem to think it was such a good idea as it is not targeting the real cause of the problem.

Cheryl GutierrezMar 6, 2013

PLEASE!!! Talk about misleading, “By speaking directly with those responsible for manipulating our perceptions. Art Directors, Graphic Designers and Photo Retouchers.”

In the Ad world, all of these people take direction from MARKETING and SALES. Creative teams don’t arbitrarily manipulate images without direction and approval from those teams. Blaming the resources who do the work is just ridiculous and irresponsible – but what would you expect from a mega corporation like Unilever? 

Ola K.Mar 6, 2013

this is such a BS, as a graphic designer I can tell you that getting a project with models ALWAYS requires us to do photo manipulation, and it’s required by the client, so instead of targeting designers (people who are trying to keep their jobs instead of getting their work send oversees) why don’t you start targeting the real culprits? that is producers of products who want their product to be associated with unrealistic beauty? that perception has to change on higher level… what you are doing here is like asking a janitor why he’s picking up garbage, ppl shouldn’t litter and he’s responsible for it !!! B freaking S! smarten up DOVE!


Specialist Production Bibliography


































Always.com, (2014). Always #LikeAGirl.

Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Always.com, (2014). Always #LikeAGirl – Meet the Director, Lauren Greenfield.

Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kCKPz3xn3sY [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Bates, L. (2014). Why is women’s body image anxiety at such devastating levels?. [online] the Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/oct/14/women-body-image-anxiety-improve-body-confidence [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

BEAUTY REDEFINED, (2014). Photoshopping: Altering Images and Our Minds. [online] Available at: http://www.beautyredefined.net/photoshopping-altering-images-and-our-minds/[Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

BuzzFeed, (2014). Photoshopping Real Women Into Cover Models.

Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRlpIkH3b5I [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Clay, D., Vignoles, V. and Dittmar, H. (2005). Body Image and Self-Esteem Among Adolescent Girls: Testing the Influence of Sociocultural Factors. 1st ed. London: University of Sussex.

CNN, (2014). Piers Morgan Live interview with Paulina Porizkova.

Available at: http://www.piersmorgan.blogs.cnn.com/2014/02/18/model-paulina-porizkova-blames-photoshop-for-image-issues-my-grandmother-could-be-a-supermodel-now-even-though-shes-dead/ [Accessed 7 Jul. 2014].

diet.com, (2008). The Photoshop Effect.

Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YP31r70_QNM [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Dike, J. (2014). Aerie’s. [online] Uloop. Available at: http://www.umd.uloop.com/news/view/php/113970/aeries-no-photoshop-ads-still-dont-cut-it [Accessed 11 Sep. 2014].

Diller, Ph.D., V. (2011). Is Photoshop Destroying America’s Body Image?. [online] The Huffington Post. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vivian-diller-phd/photoshop-body-image_b_891095.html [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Diller, V. (2010). The Psychological Factors Surrounding Cosmetic Surgery. [online] The Huffington Post. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vivian-diller-phd/are-you-psychologically-p_b_683525.html [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Dosomething.org, (n.d.). 11 Facts About Teens and Self Esteem | DoSomething.org | America’s largest organization for youth volunteering opportunities, with 2,700,000 members and counting. [online] Available at: https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-teens-and-self-esteem [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Dumas, D. (2012). Don’t use Photoshop to make models slimmer – but feel free to retouch my Facebook profile: Real women reveal double standard when it comes to the airbrush. [online] Mail Online. Available at: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2098861/Dont-use-Photoshop-make-models-slimmer–feel-free-retouch-Facebook-profile-Real-women-reveal-double-standard-comes-airbrush.html [Accessed 7 Jul. 2014].

Edwards, J. (2011). US Moves Toward Banning Photoshop In Cosmetics Ads. [online] Business Insider. Available at: http://www.businessinsider.com/us-moves-toward-banning-use-of-photoshop-in-cosmetics-ads-2011-12 [Accessed 8 Jul. 2014].

Edwards, J. (2009). French Pols Want “Fashion Police” to Ban Retouched Models in Ads. [online] Cbsnews.com. Available at: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/french-pols-want-fashion-police-to-ban-retouched-models-in-ads [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Ehlt.flinders.edu.au, (2006). Impact of Body Image. [online] Available at: http://ehlt.flinders.edu.au/education/DLiT/2006/bodyimage/Impact%20of%20Body%20Image.htm [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

GirlTalkHQ, (2014). New Proposed Law Would Regulate Excessive Photoshop In Advertising. [online] Available at: http://www.girltalkhq.com/new-proposed-law-would-regulate-excessive-photoshop-in-advertising [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

GirlTalkHQ, (2013). Student Project Shows How Photoshop Damages Beauty Perception. [online] Available at: http://www.girltalkhq.com/student-project-shows-how-photoshop-damages-beauty-perception/ [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

GirlTalkHQ, (2013). UK Retailer Debenhams Bans Photoshop From All Its Campaigns. [online] Available at: http://www.girltalkhq.com/uk-retailer-debenhams-bans-photoshop-from-all-its-campaigns/ [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Glamour, (2014). Zosia Mamet Opens Up About Her Personal Eating Disorder Struggles in Glamour’s September Issue. [online] Glamour. Available at: http://www.glamour.com/health-fitness/2014/08/zosia-mamet-opens-up-about-her-eating-disorder [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Globaldemocracy.com, (2011). Disclaimer for airbrushed models. [online] Available at: http://www.globaldemocracy.com/idea/show/9/disclaimer-for-airbrushed-models [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

GovTrack.us, (2014). Text of H.R. 4341: Truth in Advertising Act of 2014 (Introduced version) – GovTrack.us. [online] Available at: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr4341/text[Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Hicks, S. (2011). Photoshop in the Media. [online] sabrinahicks.wordpress.com. Available at: http://www.sabrinahicks.wordpress.com [Accessed 7 Jul. 2014].

Holland, P. (2004). Picturing childhood. London: I.B. Tauris.

Legleitner, E. (2014). The Michigan Times :: The No Photoshop Movement. [online] Themichigantimes.com. Available at: http://www.themichigantimes.com/article/2014/02/body-issues-problem-facing-young-adults [Accessed 8 Jul. 2014].

Leibovitz, A. and Sontag, S. (1999). Women. New York: Random House.

Ludwig, M. (2008). Photoshopped and Chopped Model Beast to Beauty.

Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlEM9LEZQ9Q [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Manasia, T. (n.d.). Psychology Department. [online] Healthpsych.psy.vanderbilt.edu. Available at: http://healthpsych.psy.vanderbilt.edu/media_and_body_image.htm [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Mashable, (2014). Aerie Lingerie Ads Ditch Photoshop for the ‘Real You’. [online] Available at: http://www.mashable.com/2014/01/21/aerie-lingerie-ads/ [Accessed 7 Jul. 2014].

Nedc.com.au, (2014). Eating Disorders Explained – Body Image. [online] Available at: http://www.nedc.com.au/body-image [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Ogilvy and Dove, (2006). dove evolution. [image] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Phelan, H. (2011). The US takes steps towards restricting the misleading use of photoshop in cosmetic ads. [online] Fashionista.com. Available at: http://www.fashionista.com/2011/12/the-u-s-takes-steps-towards-restricting-the-misleading-use-of-photoshop-in-cosmetic-ads [Accessed 7 Jul. 2014].

Piper, T. (2013). A video by Tim Piper (pirovision.com) with Emma Hack and Mike Annese starring Sally Gifford for the purpose of public education and supporting the idea on globaldemocracy.com that images with distorted bodies should have disclaimers..

Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xKQdwjGiF-s [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

ScienceDaily, (2006). Negative Body Image Related To Depression, Anxiety And Suicidality. [online] Available at: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060606224541.htm[Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Ted Talks, (2013). Cameron Russell: Looks aren’t everything. Believe me, I’m a model.. [podcast] Howto & Style. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KM4Xe6Dlp0Y [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Telegraph.co.uk, (2012). Children ‘should be given body image lessons’ – Telegraph. [online] Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9299364/Children-should-be-given-body-image-lessons.html [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Wilkin, G. (2013). Former model: ‘What young girls can learn from my anorexia’ – Telegraph. [online] Telegraph.co.uk. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/10323519/Former-model-What-young-girls-can-learn-from-my-anorexia.html [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

Wischhover, C. (2011). Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts Loreal ads are banned in the UK because theyre airbrushed. [online] Fashionista.com. Available at: http://www.fashionista.com/2011/07/christy-turlington-and-julia-roberts-loreal-ads-are-banned-in-the-uk-because-theyre-airbrushed [Accessed 8 Jul. 2014].

Wiseman, E. (2012). Uncomfortable in our skin: the body-image report. [online] the Guardian. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/jun/10/body-image-anxiety-eva-wiseman [Accessed 3 Nov. 2014].

YouTube, (2014). Dove Real Beauty Sketches. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpaOjMXyJGk [Accessed 7 Jul. 2014].