Tag Archives: bodies

Retouching, from the view point of the retouchers!

http://fashionista.com/2011/12/has-retouching-gotten-out-of-control-professional-retouchers-dish-about-whats-getting-altered-what-isnt-and-why-it-happens

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.

https://www.facebook.com/BuzzFeedVideo?fref=photo

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.

http://www.themichigantimes.com/article/2014/02/body-issues-problem-facing-young-adults

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

http://www.nytimes.com/video/opinion/1194838469575/sex-lies-and-photoshop.html

Links

Verily magazine

http://verilymag.com/about/

Jean Kilbourne

http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/beautyand-beast-advertising

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

https://www.mediaed.org/assets/products/241/studyguide_241.pdf

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.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3036838/Pink-SLAMS-Twitter-trolls-criticised-weight-following-cancer-benefit.html

10988268_10153163002882180_6092897599034231107_n

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

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/life/celebrity-fat-shaming-responses

http://www.today.com/popculture/celebrities-responses-body-shaming-see-what-kelly-clarkson-others-said-t13011

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.

http://www.parents.com/pregnancy/my-body/changing/celebrities-who-were-body-shamed-during-pregnancy/#page=7

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!

http://www.today.com/popculture/dancing-man-get-celeb-endorsed-la-dance-party-after-body-t7421

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/06/dancing-man-found-bodyshamed-dance-party_n_6817794.html

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!

I-m-somebody-s-Duff-Women-s-T-Shirts

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ally-del-monte/designated-ugly-fat-friend_b_6532840.html

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.

BsCTBz4IgAAH0Kv.jpg-large

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/09/prince-fielder-espn-body-shaming_n_5567870.html

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.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jessi-andricks/body-shaming_b_7050302.html

Shame

I’ve recently been looking at the subject of body shaming in a little more detail with reference to my project on ‘real women’ and the possible harmful effects of body enhancement using photoshop (or other editing software) in the media.

There are many cases of body shaming that go on daily, from newspapers that criticise celebrities for being overweight, underweight, having pimples, looking tired, having grey hair, etc.  Sometimes it comes under the guise of being used as being aspirational to help people – possibly to lose weight, or have plastic surgery, etc.  Whatever the reason I feel that to make another person feel uncomfortable/unhappy in their own body is an unkind thing to do.

This article from Ellie Woodward, for Buzzfeed, has some really good examples of body shaming of celebrities in the media, and their responses.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/elliewoodward/times-celebrities-had-the-best-damn-responses-to-body-sha#.orrbgVLYRp

and this one

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3036838/Pink-SLAMS-Twitter-trolls-criticised-weight-following-cancer-benefit.html

My current photography project has profoundly changed the way i think and feel about people.  I have journeyed deep into my own mind to consider how I use instant judgement to make decisions about what a person is like, and how they live and whether I want to interact with them, without even knowing them.  It has changed the way I look at people as I hadn’t realised how superficial we are (I am!) as human beings in that we judge a person on what they are wearing and how their body looks rather than their personal traits and achievements.  Its a difficult thing to admit to, but the more you realise you are doing it the more you are able to change your behaviour.  I’ve corrected myself many times these last few months, and in the process have had many happy chats with people that I would never have interacted with before – my life is happier for having changed my attitude.

Part of the reason for doing my ‘Real Women’ photography project is to provide inspirational images for women to see what real bodies are like, and that all bodies are not the same, and that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ methodology for body shape and size and that we all have the right to look different and feel good looking different.

I have been awed and humbled by the women that have selflessly allowed me to photograph them as bare as they dared to provide inspiration for other women.  Rather than being a project that was a ‘fine art’ project about nude women’s bodies being viewed sexually, these images are aimed for a women’s gaze and more a bonding of sisterhood.  These brave ladies are not usually behind the camera, all have the usual insecurities about how people will view them, and yet each has bravely stepped forward and said … “This is me, I am a real women and I am proud of that.  Be proud to be you too.”

I came across this poem, The Journey, by Mary Oliver, which I found really inspiring.  It could be used as a metaphor for many different things/journeys in life, and in my mind it fits perfectly with the journey of feeling happy in your own skin.

The Journey

One day you finally knew what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you kept shouting their bad advice—

though the whole house began to tremble and you felt the old tug at your ankles.

“Mend my life!” each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried with its stiff fingers at the very foundations,

though their melancholy was terrible.

It was already late enough, 

and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice which you slowly recognised as your own,

that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world,

determined to do the only thing you could do—

determined to save the only life you could save.

by Mary Oliver

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.

References:

Kim Lathe – The Bare Experience

Whilst searching through Kickstarter.com to see what photography projects are currently seeking funding I came across this photographer from South Dakota, USA.  She has been photographing men and women without their clothes and without using Photoshop and now has over 100 portraits that she wishes to make into a book and an exhibition.  In her kickstarter bid she says:

Why did you decide to do this BARE project?

As a photographer, I have done portraiture for people for years, and inevitably most people wanted me to “fix” things on their pictures in Photoshop – a double chin, blemishes, etc. etc. It intrigued and exasperated me to see so many people with so many self-perceived “flaws.” Everybody always want to hide something from the world, so I thought it would be interesting to ask people to bare themselves instead. I want to try and show people the beauty they already posses, even if they don’t look like the people we see in magazines and on TV.   

(https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kimlathephotography/bare?ref=category)

I looked at her website (http://kimlathe.com/the-bare-experience/) and was surprised that her ideas are very similar to mine.  From this I can assume that this subject is something that is touching people all over the world and is something that is close to everybody’s heart.

Below are screen grabs of three of my favourite images from the slide show.  Love the fact that they are black and white and are as much to deal with shape and form as they are of portraits.

They remind me of some of the nude images by Imogen Cunningham and Edward Weston.

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.

http://mashable.com/2013/04/15/dove-ad-beauty-sketches/

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!

http://mashable.com/2013/03/06/dove-photoshop-action/