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.

17 comments:

hip chick said...

I agree. it's all just to much. What is the use of having a celebrity endorse your product if you enhance them so much that they are barely recognizable?

Crimson Gardenia said...

I just don't see how this fails to fall under the "false advertising" banner. If a product can't make the user look 20 years (or more!) younger as portrayed in their ads, then how is that NOT false advertising?? Along the same lines, I now absolutely refuse to buy any makeup products that use computer images in their TV ads... lashes that grow magically longer as you look at them... skin that becomes magically unblemished with a mere swipe across with foundation...? No thanks - if you can't do it without computer tricks, then how good can the product actually be and how are you going to achieve anything but a lacklustre result when you get it home.
Ooops... time to get off my hobby horse... but this stuff really makes me mad!
It reminds me of those supermarket apples that have to be waxed and polished before we'll buy them... even though they are now bland and tasteless... give me the blemishes and the taste!

puddin said...

Thanks for the "input" . At my age , I am always tempted to try one of those "age-facial lines and sags reducing" products, but wisdom prevails. I know the only true way to stay without severe lines is good skin care. And genes have something to say!

nancy said...

It's hard enough not to buy the hype about how I'm supposed to look, but it's a real challenge raising a girl to feel empowered and beautiful when you're up against such "propaganda." I know that fashion magazines have always airbrushed, etc., but now with the digital age, they can edit bodies to look thinner than ever. What I really love is when you catch a photoshop mistake in an ad, like one of the model's legs is missing...

Pearl Westwood said...

I agree too, why is having a real looking face not acceptable!! The one that gets me is the 'styled with lash inserts' for mascara ads!

Sal said...

It really does seem to be getting more and more aggressive, the ridiculously Photoshopped wrinkles and lines. Completely smooth faces look positively alien to me, so I think this trend is downright bizarre.

casey said...

Good grief. I think that Twiggy retouch is one of the most jaw-dropping (and not in a good sense) ones I've seen! No wonder we have a bunch of women younger than I am (24) who feel the need to start Botoxing and using "anti-aging" products already. Sheesh!

I just started to have some lines show up here and there, and at first freaked out. Then I realized how stupid it was: I had always thought (and still do) that my mother's face was gorgeous in her late 20s, when she started sporting some fine lines too. I've just taken to looking at them as marks of character and being human. ;) lol.

♥ Casey
blog | elegantmusings.com

Gladys said...

I HATE that they brush and touch every photo of these amazing women who are beautiful in their own right. I also resent that the media is telling us it is bad to grow old. I hate that I don't recognize most of the movie and television stars these days because they have had so much botox, restaline and plastic surgery that they don't even look like themselves any more. I was watching a movie that had Daryl Hanna in it and I had to check the credits to see who it was. So Sad.

Victoria said...

Did you see the story on msn.com (not that I should be reading that!!) about this same topic? Even Kim Kardashian objected when her famous cellulite was airbrushed away. What wrong with a little jiggle, she said, if you're a larger lady you are gonna have it!
The point is, it doesn't stop with the face touch-ups. Ugh. Makes it SOOO hard as a 29 yr old to embrace the already-appearing wrinkles. Shame on the toucher-uppers!!

Louise said...

I completely agree too. The reason why I love beauty images from the 60s and 70s is that the women look beautiful but real. You can see pores, clumpy mascara, little lines.
That Linda Evangelista image makes her look like an alien!

Sacheverelle said...

Yeah that is way out of hand. The Twiggy one is just too much, I mean come ON. Linda Evangelista looks so fabricated, like a doll or a store mannequin.

lexismonkie said...

thanks for pointing this out, i was beginning to think i needed a face lift at 31!!!!

Brande said...

This is an AMAZING post! I'll be honest, I'm 21 and have been self-conscious for a year or two about the little lines under my eyes. Don't get me wrong, I love the idea of getting crows feet and smile lines, but I just didn't know if those eye lines were "normal". Especially at my age. Seeing these pictures was uplifting and just shows me that I AM NORMAL. My friends ARE NORMAL. And I need to stop comparing myself to the [synthetic] ideals in the media. Thanks. =]

Lady Cardigan said...

I think that is the first real photo of Andi McDowell I have ever seen. Thank you. At 43, I'm not even sure anymore how I should look or whether I'm aging well. It's depressing not to be able to see what all these beautiful women actually would look like over time because they're been photoshopped, Botox'ed and face-lifted off planet Earth.

Peldyn said...

I agree. I have no idea anymore how I am supposed to really look at my age. I thought that my neck was getting horrible! Now looking at Andi's real neck I see that mine looks just like hers and maybe I am just fine :)

Sacheverelle said...

This is a video demonstrating how a model is Photoshopped. The final pic barely even resembles the actual model!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcFlxSlOKNI

Rebecca Grace said...

I agree completely; the photoshopping fraud is so completely out of hand. I think the cosmetics companies and the psychiatrists are all in cahoots. Oh, and I also wish someone would photoshop my driver's license photo so that at 40 years old, I could look half as good as Twiggy supposedly looks in her, what -- sixties or seventies?!! Oil of Olay, my ass!

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