Recently an advertising campaign in the UK for Lancome was cancelled when the woman featured in the campaign, one Julia Roberts (small time actress with a couple of movies under her belt) complained. It turns out that in her contract there is a clause that says that no images of Ms Roberts may be released after being digitally manipulated. The term for such manipulation of an image is ‘Photoshopped‘ after the computer program that is the industry standard, Adobe’s Photoshop.
The practice is not only wide spread but occurs every day in advertisements and magazines. Often the only still image of an actress you will see in a magazine has been tweaked considerably. While anyone with access to Photoshop likes to think of themselves as a master manipulator, many are not. This doesn’t stop some of these lesser talented people from getting jobs in media and making images that perhaps aren’t quite right, or natural. Luckily there are websites such as Photoshop Disasters who showcases the especially bad attempts of manipulation.
Back to Julia though, you decide which image is the real Ms Roberts and which has been touched up by a computer programmer.
It isn’t too difficult to tell is it, but how many people would look at the image on the left, without a reference picture of the ‘real’ Julia Roberts and not realise just how different the image is. Lightened hair, eyes made to stand out more, eyebrows made fuller and shaped, and of course her skin is smoothed out and blemishes are removed.
Below is a short ad showing exactly how an average looking woman is made up and then digitally enhanced.
Obviously this isn’t the speed it normally takes but you can see just how much work it does take to alter a woman’s face from average to something above average. It isn’t just a face that can be ‘tweaked’, the fact is that any image can be altered at the hands of a skilled user of Photoshop. Here is a video showing a whole body make over:
The model is already attractive, in my humble male opinion, but to get the widest possible appeal these changes are made. Following on from the whole true body shape comments in a previous column, it is easy to see that our society craves an artificial woman more than the truth. If you think about it, do you really think that every single person on an online dating site uses an untouched image? Of course people don’t, and if they have access to, or a friend has access to Photoshop, why wouldn’t they try to make themselves more attractive? Two last things to think about: if you can’t find Photoshop to alter a woman to your ideals, you can always get drunk, it seems to have the same affect in real life; and lastly, here are some more celebrities before and after tweaking!