Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Is Airbrushing Worth It?

I posted these photos below of Lauhren on Facebook to see what my friends' reactions were to an airbrushed photo or non-airbrushed of her hips and legs. I found that people thought the airbrushed photo was over-edited and that the 'real' body was better and natural. One said that ' It looks like her boobs are about to pull her down. A bit too much editing'. After reviewing these comments I realized that airbrushing is a big 'no-no' and it's best to keep to natural beauty of the human body. So why is airbrushing still acceptable in magazines especially 'Lad's Mags' ?

Airbrushed                               Non-airbrushed

One reason is that the fashion/beauty/glamour industry is all about looking good and and selling something; whether it be clothes (eg. Vogue), make-up (eg. Allure) or someone's body image (eg. Zoo magazine). Manipulation of images is always seen in these glossy magazines to make the photo more appealing and attractive however to what extend is the public willing to allow?

There has been many debates over models and celebrities looking super human and unnatural and that magazines have gone too far to sell their 'product'. Photo-manipulation has been accepted for many years since the technology has been around to create beautiful, eye-catching images such as the programme Photoshop however airbrushing seems to be a particular problem especially if someone has been manipulated so much that they are unrecognisable.

This was in the case of Kate Winslet for GQ magazine in Feb 2003 and Vanity Fair Dec 2008 shot by Steven Miesel.

Vanity Fair

Kate Winslet, now 33 years-old and mother of two, poses seductively and naked except from stockings and stilettos. When she was first digitally enhanced she was outraged and upset that women have to be airbrushed and retouched to make them look more appealing. Shouldn't the womanly figure be sexy enough without enhanced 'boobs and butt'?

The Daily Mail Online, Tv & Showbiz asked professional airbrush artist, Chris Bickmore what work has been done on the images of Kate Winslet. 
"The face: 'There is no real detail in her face. Any detail or wrinkles have been removed. There are no eye bags, contours and smile lines.
'The whites of her eyes have been cleaned up and are now a really clean, crisp white. I'd say her lips have possibly been made slightly fuller as well.'
The skin: 'Her skin has generally been retouched all over so she has no lines or blemishes at all. Her skin is completely perfect.'
The hands and feet: 'There are no wrinkles or lines or veins on her hands and feet and this just is not natural.'
The figure: 'Her back and lower body have been pinched in to make her look thinner and to give her some curves.
'Her bottom has been rounded off so it looks nice and pert. I would be very surprised if her bottom was like that naturally. Her thigh appears to have been made slimmer so it appears more toned.
'And in the shot of her sitting down on the front cover, it's possible her legs were made slightly thinner so they also appear more toned.' "

In my opinion the image looks beautiful however Kate Winslet looks glamorous and sophisticated in real life anyway and doesn't need to be excessively retouched and airbrushed.

Left: Kate Winslet airbrushed & retouched, Right: natural beauty without make-up 

Airbrushing can be heavily seen in 'Lads mags' such as Playboy, Zoo, Loaded, Maxim, Nuts etc. Female bodies look a thousand times sexier with the flawless skin, big boobs and small waists however this isn't the average female body. This is another factor that has affected people's perception on beauty and it is no wonder that plastic surgery has been in such high demand due to images such as these:

Many people think that celebrities are exquisitely beautiful however they're just human like the rest of us and the strive for perfection can be partly blamed on airbrushed flawless images of models. Shouldn't magazines show people we can relate to in some way rather than alienating the general public and almost making us feel inferior in looks. Yes, magazines aren't magazines without appealing images however when it distorts the body until it is beyond recognition we're demoralizing the beauty of the natural human body.

What are your views on airbrushing and retouching?


Anonymous said...

I am completely opposed to airbrushing models in magazines- it has given us all a disillusioned image of what the female body looks like. This has led to tonnes of girls starting to hate their body because it doesn't look like the people they see in magazines! No wonder our generation is so image obsessed! Therefore, I think they should ban airbrushing and show the models as natural- it's way more beautiful anyway. If you airbrush and perfect the models bodies they all end up looking the same, and who wants to look like some sort of plastic Barbie? Not me.

mashnash said...

thank you anonymous for replying (cough cough mary!) i love you :D
i agree, the media does heavily influence our perception of beauty. I'm not sure about airbrushing should be banned completely as everyone wants to look better in their own photo and not look dull or flat. Retouching etc enhances existing beauty however to the extent that magazines do it today is appalling.
But fair point, we don't want to have a monotonous society of plastic barbies! x