Friday, August 6, 2010

picture perfect

It may be heading towards the end of bathing suit season but with some of us still heading out to the beach or the lake, I didn’t think it was too late to talk about this interesting ad campaign. Denbenhams, a UK retailer, has taken a stance against airbrushed beauty by banning airbrushing from their ad campaigns. To highlight how unnecessary (and unhealthy for consumers!) it is for models to be touched up, they’ve put an unconventional twist on their ad campaign by comparing an unaltered photo with one that has been airbrushed. Take a look at how interesting the results are…


So first of all, yes, this model, without the airbrushing, is beautiful. From her cute bob to her smooth skin to her lean physique, there’s no way I would ever think twice about her as a model if I saw her in a magazine or store front. Can’t spot all the differences between the first photo and the second? Considering how small some of the touchups are, I’m not really surprised it’s hard to make out the modifications. To see the subtle changes between her ‘real’ photo and the one that’s been altered really struck me as eye opening. The fact that the shape of her arm has been ever-so-slightly skimmed and they’ve done their best to create a helmet of hair shows just how much emphasis is put on living up to an unachievable level of perfection. It’s really no wonder we can focus on the tiniest details about ourselves and wish we could change them.


It’s an interesting way to reject airbrushing and to promote self acceptance. Airbrushing really isn’t necessary when it comes to making people look beautiful. Sure, I’d like to see myself without any wrinkles, no stray hairs and maybe a bigger bust - but really, that’s not me. And it’s not realistic. Nitpicking at the shape of a shoulder (really? a shoulder?) or the shadow of an underarm should never be an issue. Model or not, we all come in different shapes and sizes with different skin tones, different hair cuts and definitely different takes on the definition of beautiful. Accepting ourselves for who we are, “flaws” and all, no matter how big or small, should be reinforced by the fashion world. Us ‘real’ girls are the ones wearing the clothing and considering swimsuit shopping is such a dreaded outing for most girls I know, seeing these models without any touchups might give me a little more confidence to step out of the change room or into the pool. (Okay, maybe not, but no matter how much I hate being in a bikini, I find this ad campaign very refreshing!...)

What’s your take on this campaign? Would you be less inclined to shop at a store with ‘less than perfect’ models?

21 comments:

holly said...

Have you seen the controversy about Ann Taylor's retouching?

http://jezebel.com/5603467/a-model-gets-photoshopped-before-your-very-eyes?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+jezebel/full+(Jezebel)

For shame.

iheartkiwi said...

wow what an interesting concept!

i think the model was stunning before all the airbrushing... i can't imagine using the original would change my consumer habits.

Skywaitress said...

I definitely would be more inclined to shop somewhere that used untouched pictures of their models.

Personally I think the untouched version of the photo looks better than the retouched one. Good for them, even if they are only running the campaign because "real" is trendy right now. It's a trend I'd like to see stick around

Melissa Blake said...

Four words: it's about damn time!

The girl of many sorts. said...

Hi
All those things were taken away???
I could not even see the difference,,,

I thought she looked gorgeous either way!

SP

Krystal said...

I love this, thanks for posting it! I bet if no models were airbrushed we wouldn't be thinking about how imperfect we were all the time (although, most models are still ridiculously gorgeous, haha)

Ashley said...

this is awesome :)

It reminds me of the whole DOVE campaign, where they used regular girls as models to sell the goods! ha. We need more of this!

Zabrinah said...

Woah, this was a great post. It definitely reminds me of the Dove campaign as well.

~Z

Marie said...

Great post! Thanks for posting and I'd like to share it on my blog - www.lifedebriefed.com if you don't mind! All credit given, of course! :)

Gina said...

i would love to see more pictures like this, i remember a while back they airbrushed a photo of jessica alba, they pretty much made her half her size. it was horrible

ag. said...

it IS about darn time!

i LOVED that Dove campaign. i understand that fashion models have a specific job but seeing 'real' beauty is so inspiring! and this model definitely is stunning without the touchups.

please feel free to spread the word :)

Robynn's Ravings said...

That is sickeningly AMAZING! She was terrific before. They're making her a mannequin - and those just CREEP me out. I'd be more inclined to shop at a store that featured REAL people. Tasteful, edgy, lovely, but REAL. And that comes in many forms.

Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving a sweet comment. :) Glad I found you. I'll add you to my blog roll and click your follow button!

Indie.Tea said...

I did notice that her skin was smoother (too smooth, almost plastic) and that her waist was strangely small in the second pic. I think the 'before' was prettier...in the second is undistinctive and boringly pretty.

hannahkaty.com said...

I just think it is crazy altogether. That girl really needed no alterations! It is breeding this idea that even if you seem perfect, you will never be perfect. It is not like we can head to beach and air brush our bodies... In reality, we are dealt with what we are given. I think it should be the same for ads.

photohogger said...

Gosh, so subtle, yet all of those airbrushing points are unbelievable! Can't believe they'd retouch a shoulder. Crazy. I'd be MORE inclined to shop at a store where the models looked regular/average and more like me. It's disheartening seeing stick-thin, perfectly coiffed, super models on windows of clothing stores!

Ren- Lady Of The Arts said...

wow- crazy how much it changes-
thanks for sharing this-
It is so important for women (and men) to remember these things- Really I wish I had seen this as a teenager- as a grown confident woman I see it through different eyes.

nice to 'meet' you.

Karen said...

That's crazy! I couldn't even tell which was which at first, but then realized they'd trimmed her thighs a bit. It'd be nice to return to more normal looking campaigns - the models and celebrities they choose are amazing in the first place!

That being said, I'm totally guilty of going into my own photos and reducing shine on a forehead, etc. before posting them to Facebook...

Melanie's Randomness said...

Geez that's some air brush job! I think she looks fine without it. I'd rather more normal looking people in ads. I wonder how it makes the model feel that even tho she is a 10 already that she's airbrushed. Yessh!

Hollie said...

this is exactly why I don't flip thru glamour, cosmo, etc anymore! I think airbrushing should be illegal. :]

Signe said...

wow, that's a lot of work on a model that was pretty much perfect to begin with! :/

Emma Gallant said...

I was just trying on a bikini for holiday next week and thought I don't look to bad being a size 12.....I wanted to see if I actually could have the confidence to actually were a bikini this year....I started to look at real women on pics and came across this....it has been an eye opening....yes my bikini Will stay in the case all holiday but it certainly helped towards.my confidence so maybe next year:-)