Feeds

Adobe tries to rub out LibDem airbrush claims

Digital touch ups kiling female self-esteem says MP

Boost IT visibility and business value

Adobe has hit back at demands from Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson for a ban on airbrushing models to make them appear more "beautiful" in advertisements aimed at children.

The sort of thing that Miss Swinson is having a pop at is illustrated by this well-known YouTube clip, in which a handsome young woman is first "beautified" using the traditional cosmetic arts – and then further "touched up" via digital enhancement.

The obvious political point is slightly undermined by the fact that it is a professionally produced piece of work, created by the "Campaign for Real Beauty" mounted for cosmetics brand, Dove.

But Adobe's products undoubtedly allow picture editors unprecedented latitude in touching up models. Arguably, Miss Swinson’s campaign would spell the end for Photoshop and all similar products.

A spokeswoman for Adobe responded seriously by pointing out that digital "airbrushing" is now an integral part of the production process and that calls for a ban were "infeasible and reflect an incomplete understanding of modern photographic methods".

She went on: "Attempting to 'ban' any particular editing technique would ignore all of the legitimate uses. Instead, we encourage the advertising community to apply good judgement and use these tools responsibly, and we are glad that the increasingly broad availability of digital imaging tools makes it possible for even children to understand that the photos they see in magazines may easily have been manipulated."

El Reg hesitates to throw its weight behind Adobe – but in this instance, it might just have a point.

Miss Swinson raised the issue of young girls with issues of self-esteem, which she claimed to be a direct consequence of altering images. She said: "It's part of our culture now but it's a very damaging culture. It's not even as though these airbrushed images are attainable – it's not how they look."

Image enhancement has been going on as long as images have been commercially available. In pre-computer days, graphic designers and illustrators used a range of techniques - including manually enhancing desirables features and removing unwanted ones – to make their models appear more attractive. (Russia's Communist Party did the same)

Throughout the ages, artists, from Leonardo Da Vinci to Georges Seurat, deemed that ideal beauty could only be found in pictures built around the ratio known as the Golden Mean (or section), and modified their works accordingly.

Created at a time when disease and malnutrition were rife, the works of artists such as Titian (NSFW) were likely unrealistic: but as far as we know, there is little evidence of the renaissance obsession with a particular form of female perfection leading to outbreaks of mass insecurity.

It may therefore be that Miss Swinson is attacking symptom rather than cause. Society has always held up ideals – for men as well as women. The key difference today is more about conformity: a deep-rooted belief that individuals can and should aim to achieve ideals, and a failure to insulate children, as once they might have been, from that mindset. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.