Home / Beauty & Health / Warning: This Image has Been Photoshopped


I usually post about the glamorous parts of the fashion world, but it isn’t all fun and games.  There are important legal and ethical issues that make up the nitty gritty behind the scenes. Case in point – the grotesque and distorted Ralph Lauren ads.

photoshopped ralph lauren

From photoshopdisasters.blogspot.com

These and other unrealistic images raise a variety of questions.  What effect do these images have on young women (you)? Do they (you) ever want to look like that? Do they (you) know that ALL images in magazines and advertisements are photoshopped in some way?

From hollywooddame.com

From hollywooddame.com

France is proposing a law that will require a health warning on all airbrushed photographs in order to prevent young consumers from comparing their appearance to a computer generated version of beauty. They suggest using the language “Retouched photograph aimed at changing a person’s physical appearance.”

From incredimazing.com

From incredimazing.com

Nothing is real about these people. Their skin is smoothed and colored, their limbs are erased and recreated, half their face is deleted and replaced with a symmetrical copy of the other half, and who knows what else.

photo touchup before after

Personally, I think this warning is a great idea. It is a compromise between casting normal sized models and the status quo. At least it will help young girls understand that the images they are looking at aren’t real.

From theblemish.com

From theblemish.com

Do you think your country should pass a similar law?

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  1. wow i really didn’t know that!
    these pics look way different!
    and yes i want to look like them!
    and i do my best, i guess i should just photo shop myself 😛
    lol jk
    so i guess this teaches us some inner beauty stuff 😛

  2. There is something I really hate about photoshopped images.
    As an artist I understand about wanting a nice image, but this should stop at lighting.
    A little fixing up if a model happens to come in with a huge pimple on the day of the shoot is understandable I guess, if we’re thinking about this with relative ethics. But it’s so stupid to change actual body shapes and noses and things like that.
    OK Madonna doesn’t look great pre photoshop in this instance, but neither do I like the weird fake one that feels so unreal.
    I think the second image you’ve chosen… she looks fantastic already!! And her face was so pretty, look what they did to it!
    I don’t know who the lady on the cover of ‘Nitro’ is, but she looked beautiful beforehand and her face seems to have deteriorated by time of print. I actually prefer the untouched up hair too.

    So like mascara adverts that use fake lashes, I must come down on the side that this is a good idea. Though it is not so fair for slightly edited images (light/colour and such), maybe there should be a copy of the original somewhere that can be viewed, because a little ‘touching up’ does not begin to cover what happens sometimes.

    Florrie xx
    .-= – Intrinsically Florrie´s last post…Inspired by Lula =-.

  3. What an interesting article! I personally think it’s very easy to spot a heavily photoshopped picture in a magazine, and it always makes me feel a little bit uncomfortable… and it distracts me from the clothes she is wearing, which is usually the only reason why I ever buy glossies. It’s so crazy, how much photoshopping and editing goes into pics like these… it definitely makes me uncomfortable.

    It sucks that when we look at magazine ads, we instinctively think that the people in them look exactly like that in real life, and that we want to be just like them. But that is how the human brain works… we haven’t really adapted to the digital media age, I guess! And yeah, I think having disclaimers somewhere in the publication would be a good idea. Because sometimes it’s fun to play with fantasy and reality, but other times it is just unnerving and kindof creepy…
    .-= – Sarah Khan´s last post…SCOTT SCHUMAN WOULD LIKE TO SAY… =-.

  4. Hi Queen Bee,

    having such warnings would definitely be a good idea…personally I do not work that much with photoshop, so I have practically a limited idea of what one can alter about the outer appearence. Thank you for this post, the pictures illustrated your point very well! I’ll keep that more in mind in the future!

    Love, Lilly
    .-= – Lilly´s last post…Royal Kitten =-.

  5. Personally, i like to see beauty with a little bit of flaws. There is something more interesting and even more appealing about someone without a glossy, painted over, perfected image. Leaving a little realism in a picture or a bit of character would be great. I think a small note stating why a picture has been photoshopped might be a good thing. Unless the point of the picture is to look surreal and unnatural, I’d personally like to see at least a little more realism and true beauty makes its way into fashion photography.
    .-= – IdStyle´s last post…Infatuation List: Top 10 Creepy Collections =-.

  6. I do agree that some of these have gone a bit far, but I don’t have that much of a problem with pohotoshopped being used within reason. Like the madonna picture, they’ve smoothed out her skin and I can completely understand that maddonna doesn’t want the original picture going out. the other effects they’ve added could have equally been achieved with lighting and camera setting, so do we need a warning for that too? I don’t find it acceptable where the model’s body shape is being changed though.

    I do photoshop my own pictures a little, mainly contrast and colours, but I do sometimes even out my skin ( I have terrible open pores on my cheeks), so I can’t complain too much when others do it.

    I also think its maybe just a tiny wee bit patronising to suggest that girls see these pictures and feel like that is something they have to achieve. I think most people know that photoshoots are pretty artificial situations even without photoshopping. I’m surprised people commenting weren’t aware of this happening, so maybe I’m wrong and warnings are needed!

    Just playing devil’s advocate!
    .-= – Franca´s last post…IFB Links à la Mode =-.

  7. I think such warnings would be a good idea. I, personally am interested in fashion, not in models. And I never conciously wanted to look like a model, because I always thoght I couldn’t achieve that anyway. But still, even if you don’t actually want to look like that, these pictures might “infiltrate” your mind somehow and it might be healthy to remid yourself (or be reminded) that they are not realistic.

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