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So I’ve been reading a lot about magazines going to change what ads they allow in their magazines based on models and post-processing. Vogue has said that it will no longer allow models under the at of 16 to be shown in their magazine, and they will no longer show models that APPEAR to have a eating disorder. Procter & Gamble have said that they will no longer allows ads that APPEAR to use post-processing (correcting their misused terminology) to mislead customers.

Jonathan Newhouse (of Vogue’s parent company):
“Vogue believes that good health is beautiful. Vogue editors around the world want the magazines to reflect their commitment to the health of the models who appear on the pages and the wellbeing of their readers.”

The editors have agreed on six points, that will appear in Vogue’s June issue, which includes not knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or “who appear to have an eating disorder”.

Procter & Gamble has agreed to never again run an ad for its CoverGirl mascara because it used “enhanced post-production” and “photoshopping” to make eyelashes look thicker than they were in real life. P&G agreed to the ban even though it disclosed in the ad that the image was enhanced.

Scary – Both of these magazines have used very vague terms for these new “rules”. I have to ask by which guide line are they judging these terms with? If a photographer removes a zit from a girl’s face who is going on a makeup ad, is that “enhanced post-production” that will “mislead consumers”? If I go in and slightly give a girl whiter teeth for a toothpaste ad, will that image be banned? News flash people no one naturally has “pearl” white teeth, I know genetics are a bitch. Where is the ling going to be drawn for all of this? Vogue if a girl is naturally slender framed but has a beautiful face, can they no longer be Vogue models? I am just worried that this is all going to based on someone’s personal opinion, more than likely someone who doesn’t understand the truths of photography or post-production. I have to ask, is it needed? Do these magazines and people really believe that the general public is so stupid that they can’t figure out some of this stuff? Ladies are you so dumb that when they show a model with obviously unnatural eye lashes that you think that a simple gel substance can make you lashes look like that? NO! These ads are not trying to mislead, they are trying to give you an impression. They are giving you the impression that their product will make something better in your life, they do not promise miracles or magic. They are not saying that their product will change your body at the genetic level to make you something that you can never be. They are trying to say “hey look, our product will make your eye lashes look better” and that is all.

Exciting – Now with all that being said, do I believe that post-production is abused in the advertising world, YES. Do I believe it is being done to the extent that the ignorant public believes, NO. People today have this belief that what is being done in photoshop is new, which is true and false. There are tools in photoshop that you just couldn’t do during film days, well not nearly as realistic or as easily. Could I remove blemishes, zits, and other flaws with film photography, why yes I could. Could you composite multiple images together with film, yes you could, in fact the first one ever done was by Oscar G. Rejlander – The Two Paths of Life – 1857. Most of the tools within Photoshop are based on darkroom techniques and were designed by photographers. In other words, people this stuff isn’t new, it’s just streamlined and easier. Now I do like this idea of limiting to a degree the amount of post-production in advertising in some cases, it will eliminate a lot of bad photographers from the industry. However I am still worried that this will push a lot of really talented and beautiful models out of work. These ideas will become very insane and bad, before they ever get better. This is going to hurt a lot of people, before it benefits people. I just ask, will we have to show proof of the post-production done to our images now? Will models have to show proof of their eating habits? Are they going to discriminate against naturally skinny people? (Slight political statement coming up!) It’s seems that it’s going to be ok to discriminate against white people and skinny people only now.

Two Photomontages/Photo-Compsites
Oscar G. Rejlander – The Two Paths of Life – 1857


Henry Peach Robinson, 1858

My point is that all of this that is coming about could be good, but has just as great of a ability to be bad too. I also have to wonder if these are just PR stunts by these two magazine companies, I really believe that if it comes down to loosing a lot money over these new rules, they will buckle.

To read more:
Business Insider
Fstoppers
News Thump
CBC