Monday, February 08, 2010

The Proliferation of Unrealistic Digitally Enhanced Images in Advertising

Back in December, Procter and Gamble was slapped by the British Advertising Standards Authority for misleading the public when they "digitally re-touched" a photograph of Twiggy used in an ad for an Olay product.

A bit much, isn't it? I am of the opinion that the use of Photoshop and other programs to "digitally enhance" or airbrush advertising images to give the impression of perfection is way out of hand and far too prevalent.

Linda Evangelista in a L'Oreal ad and in a live appearance.

Andie MacDowell in a L'Oreal ad and on the Red Carpet.

When did it become unacceptable to show that women have lived rich and fulfilling lives - lives that naturally give us smile lines, larger pores, saggy eyelids, and crow's feet? When will advertisers stop making us feel bad about ourselves by presenting us with impossible to obtain results? I, for one, would prefer to buy products from a company that has the guts to show me natural results without digitally enhancing it's advertising images. And I'm sure I'm not alone.

Take a look at these images of Cheryl Tiegs from 1975. These photos appeared in an issue of Harper's Bazaar magazine as part of a spread about new make-up products. (Pardon the ripples in the paper. The magazine got wet sometime over the years.)

Click to enlarge this photo, and you'll clearly see Chery's pores and tiny lines under her eyes - "faults" which would have been Photoshopped away in a 2010 image.

Click to enlarge and look at those wonderful lines around Chery's eyes - lines that show true joy and laughter.

Click to enlarge and you'll see that, even on the cover, you can see faint lines to the sides of Cheryl's mouth and under her eyes.

Chery's age in these photos? 28. A true and natural 28, not a digitally-enhanced one.