Everything visual we're exposed to through the different channels of media, has been optimized to send a message.
In this particular case I'm addressing overly retouched photography.
The first of the two top images portrays an idealistic version of an especially curvy lady. At the risk of sounding blunt! This shape seems rather artificial altogether and has most definitely been altered. This is a very good example of the "purification" of the human body that has become quite common in western society.
The second image shows Crystal Renn (With the help of some direct overhead-lighting) using her curves and texture to create an exaggeration of the reality. Obviously these two photos are two extremes and complete opposites, and highlight the difference between art and commercial photography.
The business side of fashion and media in general, present images in a way they think we'll buy what they're selling. It seems they assume we only idolize or desire people who are perfectly shaped and flawless. So flawless even Miss World needs a little digital work done. (Picture to the left: Indian model, actress, and Miss World 1994, Aishwarya Rai for L'oreal). (Although, if they didn't sell us an unattainable ideal, we might feel content with ourselves and wouldn't have to buy a lot of products. Buuut this is getting a little "conspirational", so back to the point).
Retouch in it self is a way of improving artwork and edit details. But adjusting color and upping the contrast, maybe remove a misplaced pimple, an unfortunate shadow, or clutter in the background is one thing. Removing pores, scars, cellulite, dark circles, or change perception of limbs and shape, is changing the appearance to such a degree that it becomes a "cartoonish" version of it's original form.
That said, I believe that it's not the retouching that is the "enemy", it's giving people a wrong sense of normality and reality. It affects how we perceive ourselves and judge others.
The consequence of getting accustomed to the fake may be the expectation of perfection, and that anything less would be recognized as faulty (That seems a little silly, doesn't it?).
In reality about 98-99% of women (and some men) have cellulite, and 100% of humanity have pores.
For the sake of a healthy body image in a time where fashion and makeup is used as a "body armor" rather then the creative toy it is, and so many get but-jobs and Botox. We should perhaps strive towards accepting appearance for what it is, as just appearance.
As far as commercials go, most of us can tell that skin without texture isn't just makeup, and it would be a far more believable mascara commercial without fake lashes. It's a little bit insulting "they" think we're that easily fooled.
Also, it would be nice if our models could be left looking human and not like dolls, unless explicitly intended to. Wouldn't it be preferable to keep the features expressing personality intact? Especially when paying extra for a famous face... (Just saying!).
Brittany Murphy end up looking like someone else. Removing her under-eyelid, natural lines and shading makes her look blend. The same goes for Cameron Diaz. They even managed to make her look less toned, like that was a bad thing.
Result: Personality is photoshopped away.
Beyonce looks like a Barbie Doll, and not like a live person. Especially since her skin looks like it's made of plastic.
Penelope Cruz, looks far better in the un-retouched image. Her expression is sweeter and her hair doesn't look like she used three cans of hairspray on it.
Eva Longoria is also a bit unrecognizable.
I found that when overly retouched, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez and Eva Longoria look almost identical in some photos. Three different women with three different body shapes, but the retouchers manage to reshape their figure to the same medium-sized hourglass.
And these ones are just crazy!
“There are no bad pictures; that's just how your face looks sometimes.” ― Abraham Lincoln
All the photos of the (too beautiful to actually need to be retouched) people in this post are random pictures from Tumbler or borrowed from Google. Mostly unknown source, except for Aishwarya Rai for L'oreal, Crystal Renn in Harper’s Bazaar Australia May 2009, Halle Berry in FHM November 2003, Filippa Hamilton for Ralph Lauren, Adam Noah Levine and random models in Vogue and Eva Mendez on the cover of Cosmopolitan.)
ETHICAL AND PERSONALIZED STYLE, FOR A "GOOD FOR YOU" WARDROBE.
Idealist style is a website and "slow blog" dedicated to ethical fashion and personalized style, including tips on how to find your very own "slow fashion" style by using color analysis, the body types system, and other slow fashion tips.»