Monday, September 13, 2010

Can't (Re)Touch This

Photo re-touching has been done for a really long time such as in these shots of Joan Crawford. I think initially to preserve the actress' vanity and mystique( and perhaps the photographers skill!) It's also about blurring the lines between fantasy and reality whereby you know that these are real people but you consider them to be more 'perfect' than us. This farce is so unhealthy but it is what has made the fashion and beauty industry so successful...we buy dreams not just clothes and creams.

However, it's very refreshing to see a little bit of reality from time to time and there are moves being made within the fashion world to ban outright or at least place restrictions on the amount of re-touching allowed. The female editor of French Marie Claire led the cause with her April 2010 issue that contained no photoshop whatsoever in it's editorials. The ads were still fantasy and prefection heavy of course but she did try! Another French lady politician has added her voice proposing fines for magazine people and ad men...
' There is something unhealthy in the misrepresentation of body image in our society, said the Marseille’s Congress Woman who wants to “enlighten the consumer.” “It is outrageous,” she says, to believe that one side of the spectrum are the little people with their flaws, cellulite and at the other extreme there are the perfect people. There is an indecency in having us believe we look better at 70 than at 20. I wish to restore and highlight the barrier between the virtual and physical reality.'

The legendary photographer, Peter Lindbergh, also believes in beauty without artiface and he shot these stunning pictures of the nineties supers without makeup or overly-flattering lighting for French Elle. Isn't it funny how these moves are being initiated by the French; the very nation who hold the pursuit of beauty in such high regard! Although, their inherent 'french-ness' and chic is mostly natural. They do believe in beauty via easy means; a small selection of key excercises, not hours in a gym, a good quality and restrained diet, looking after their skin and learning good makeup skills rather than surgery etc

I can't help but think that although these photos are stunning; these women did win the genetic lottery! I myself as a makeup artist, prefer to champion The Natural Look but I'm not sure how well most of us would look in these conditions. That said, it's good to see none the less and they are a lot more beautiful than the horrible paparazzi mag ' stars without their slap' versions!

There are moves to impose these fines and bans in the industry here now which will be interesting to see. I personally hate if my work is touched up too much afterwards. Some times it is necessary as there may be what I call '3D issues' on the skin that concealer can't remove as the product can only cover but not take away a bump (spots, deep bags under the eyes) and when these are lifted away it is much more flattering. I take pride in really perfecting my models skin, blending the shadows and choosing colours that are complementary to the complexion. I once did a cover shot for a national magazine and they changed the eye shadow, lip shade and the colour of the dress the model was wearing digitally afterwards to tie in with their banner. I was disgusted as it looked so false and I felt people would think they were perfecting my work rather than changing the colours to suit their page re-edit!

Look how different and gorgeous Jessica Simpson is without makeup above. She looks chic and pretty rather than OTT as she usually does.
So I'll stop ranting now. Overall I support this cause so that people don't feel inferior anymore. The beauty industry is supposed to make you look good and feel pretty not feel as though you aren't worthy to walk the hallowed halls of the department stores. These new proposals for a real version of beauty may be a little idealistic and I'm not sure if they will make it into common practice but it's a step in the right direction at the very least!

What do you think?


Veronica said...

It's wonderful to see the charge for natural beauty being led by the French. As you say they embody chic and elegance. By adding truth to the mix they not only challenge make-up artists and photographers to excel in their skills but also it shows respect to their magazine readers
Looking at the Joan Crawford pictures, the untouched one shows emotion, vulnerability, the other perfected one is merely 'eyes to the left'.

Anne said...

Natural refreshing!

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