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Photoshop Beauty

November 10, 2005     category: Stare

This retouching gallery from Conrad Digital features some really spectacular digital editing work...yet is also extraordinarily depressing. Take the first comparative image, for instance... Click the large image to open the popup, then mouseover for before/after. Go on, we'll wait.

Back? Good. Note how in the "before" picture there's a perfectly normal woman, nice clean skin, nose that might have been broken once in a particularly frenetic game of field hockey, neatly plucked eyebrows, etc. and so on. In the "after" picture exists a plasticine simulacrum unseen outside of, well, magazine ads. Her skin is now bronzy and without variation. Her nose is now flat and could have been carved of clay. Her eyebrows and eyelashes have not one single hair out of place. She's gone from living breathing woman to idealized Barbie, and it is just depressing.

Intellectually we realize this is all propaganda, the idealized woman is displayed in an effort to get us to purchase that particular entity's products, so we can look exactly the same. Er, if the alleged example of the product's effectiveness is a Photoshopped wonder and we KNOW this then how in the name of short, fat ponies can we be expected to believe it works?

We can see doing some editing if, for example, the hack photographer has not properly lit the subject, if the background color needs altering, even if the pain in the ass client wants more sodding hair added. But really, what is gained by taking a perfectly good model and UNrealizing her? For part of the population, this will result in those creeping inadequate thoughts. For the rest of us, just an overweening cynicism.

It's simple manipulation, and the entire goal is to increase the bottom line. The problem lies in so many not being able to suss that out, in not realizing that the ideal has been manufactured, that it's neverever found in the wild, and no matter how much scratch is dropped on their products, will neverever be reproduced.

Update: Dear gods, they've moved her entire EYEBALL!!

Ok, this one is just false advertising. The jacket clearly does not lie flat across the stomach as they have indicated here, but rather bunches as LEATHER WITH A BUTTON IN IT is wont to do. Jeez.

Link credit: I Like Cameras


You are SO right! If the plastification of our world goes on, people soon will have no more sex anyway. The problem solves itself.

Zep   ·  November 11, 2005 03:08 AM

I've noticed for a while that many of these women in advertising look like cartoon characters. Why do they even bother with the model?

The shame of it is that many of the real women are more sexy then the artist's rendering of them.

byrd   ·  November 13, 2005 12:41 PM

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