The photographs of celebrities and models in fashion advertisements and magazines are routinely altered with the helping of digital polish. Adobe’s Photoshop software is the tool photographers use as their magic wand to beauty. The retouching can be as slight as brightening the colors, putting a stray hair in its place or erasing a pimple; or as drastic as shedding some pounds off someone, making them a few inches taller, or getting rid of every wrinkle and blemish on their face. I strongly feel that Photoshop should not be permitted in the fashion publishing industry of celebrities and models without the photographer’s issuing of a signature, showing that the photo has been photoshopped. Like Hany Farid, a professor of computer science and a digital forensics expert at Dartmouth College said, “Fix one thing, then another and pretty soon you end up with Barbie,” this is true and leads to many problems.
Photoshopped images of celebrities and models create unrealistic body images, fooling readers. These flawless images lead viewers and readers into a fake reality. Upon seeing such beautiful photographs of people, readers are tricked into believing that every celebrity is impeccably stunning, which is not the case. Every celebrity and model appears to be perfect due to the deceiving Photoshop software that creates such photos. With this effect, readers may become apt to think that celebrities live in a picture-perfect world when they really live in the world every other person lives in—an imperfect, but naturally beautiful reality.
Photoshopped images make readers feel bad about their own looks. Looking at such retouched images is very discouraging and often causes people, especially female teens to have low self-esteem. While flipping the pages of a fashion magazine and coming across a makeup ad, like Covergirl, you see what looks to be a gorgeous, airbrushed model and think, “Why can I never seem to look like this no matter what I do or buy?” The answer to this question cannot effectively be answered considering the models for such ads are photoshopped. It leaves you feeling hopeless and desperate, thinking down upon yourself and your own looks. This is certainly not healthy for anyone, especially when you’re comparing yourself to someone that has been digitally edited to look perfect—something virtually impossible to ever look like. There is no perfect beauty in the world besides natural beauty, and Photoshop surely does not portray that message.
Another issue resulting from this digital tool is the negative publicity that is being portrayed toward models and celebrities. Having their shots photoshopped without them knowing leaves them to later find that their pictures for various advertisements are not really them, but an “airbrushed version” instead. The clients of photographers are actually being lied to, and I’m sure many celebrities do not want to present fake pictures of themselves to their fans either; it is unethical. Not only does Photoshop depict a bad reputation on the celebrities and models, but it also creates false advertisement. The photographers using the tool are criticized for their work as well, as people realize that their photos are digitally edited.
Although I do not fully support the free use of Photoshop without a marking or signature, I do understand the intention of the tool. I do agree that photoshopping images in advertisements makes them look more flattering, and thus draws more attention to the product that is being marketed. It makes perfect sense that a photoshopped image would help an advertisement company be more successful. Anyone who would look at an eye-pleasing image that is representing a specific product would become so satisfied by the product’s quality that they’d want to buy it. I am only vitalizing the fact that there should be a marking on the image to show it has been digitally polished. If Photoshop is to exist, it is only ethical that the photographer issues some kind of marking somewhere on the photograph to show some respect. It would not only be respectful to the models and celebrities, and the public, but it would also help the photographer appear more credible and respected.