One of my favorite things about working in the UndercoverWear marketing department is the minimal amount of Photoshopping we do to our images. Usually when I open Photoshop, it’s to cut a model out of the background and place her next to another model or onto a new background. The only time I ever actually change the appearance of the model is if I have to remove a pimple, tattoo, or piercing; sometimes I’ll fix their makeup if there’s a smudge, brighten up their eyes, do an overall color correction – the simple things. I like to leave their actual body untouched, we don’t feel the need to suck in thighs or enlarge their asset to try to market our clothes and products.
Covergirl fell under scrutiny when it was noticed in the fine print on the advertisement that the lashes on the model trying to sell mascara were in fact altered. They eventually pulled the ad when the National Advertisement Division challenged them; claiming that the image is considered false advertisement. Victoria Secret gives all their size 0 models a perfect hour glass shaped figure – creating almost completely unattainable body images. While we all curse technology and advertisement agencies for allowing us to manipulate the human form so drastically, what most of us don’t realize is that artists have been practicing this form of manipulation for hundreds or years.
The link below was something I stumbled on a few months ago, it shows some classic pinup illustrations from the 1950’s and 60’s along with the actual model/image that the artists used to reference when creating his pinup illustration. You see that even here, stomachs are made flatter, waists are smaller, assets are enlarged, legs are elongated, cheekbones are altered and eyes are made larger.
Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres painted the “Grande Odalisque” in 1814 – way before computers ever existed – was a huge controversial image at the time, not just for it’s subject matter (a concubine,) but also for it’s distortion of the human form. Upon a quick glance you probably wouldn’t notice a whole lot wrong with this image, but look closer, her spine is elongated about five vertebrates and rotated the pelvis in a way not humanly possible. It was, and still is pretty common to elongate body parts such as the torso or legs in order to make the female appear more attractive.
You don’t have to be an expert at Photoshop to be able to manipulate your own images of yourself; they have an app for that, just download it from your app store. Unfortunately there is no sign that this Photoshop epidemic will end anytime soon, as technology continues to advance, we will continue to find new and easier ways to manipulate images to make people appear more attractive. So instead of comparing yourself to the overly Photoshopped models that you see in publications and advertisements all over the world, start looking at yourself as a real, beautiful, non-manufactured individual. Stop letting the media define what beauty is and instead make your own definition of beautiful.