daphnep: (yarn (he)art)
( Feb. 12th, 2012 07:33 pm)

I keep seeing that video of Ellen DeGeneres making the rounds, responding to her detractors opposed to her deal with JCPenny.
(Here, if you've missed it.)

And every time I see it, it makes me happy. Mostly because to me, Ellen, and her sustained popularity, in particular, is one tangible sign that it really does, sometimes, "get better." I remember very clearly what a huge outcry there was when she first came out on her television show as a lesbian. I was in high school, in a small conservative town, and even though we all knew she was gay, it was an enormous thing when they made it a plot line and actually said it in so many words, on television. I remember kids talking about it in the lunchroom. And now, I can't begin to count the number of "out" celebrities and gay plot lines in t.v. shows, and every day it seems there's a new one, and I can note on my own personal timeline how much the universe has shifted, because I remember personally that time when it was radical that Ellen was gay. And she's still gay, and it's no longer radical, and the world has improved just that measurable amount, and I love Ellen, for being a measuring stick for that important change.

I love her for other reasons, too: She's funny, whether she's hosting an awards show, on her talk show, or being interviewed in magazines and on other shows. Or that video with Kristin Bell.

She makes me laugh. She makes me laugh in a belly-deep, chortling way that defies the conventional comic wisdom, that says that women can't be funny.

Also, I love that even though she's not conventionally cover-model-gorgeous, she's still won the cultural recognition of a "beautiful woman"--many particular honors that are normally reserved for a different, less interesting kind of face, like a makeup sponsorship deals (CoverGirl) and the covers of fashion magazines.

W magazine

And mostly, I just love that this supposedly "not funny" "not pretty" kick-ass gay woman is all over the place, still being hilarious and gorgeous and smart and in every way bad-ass.
daphnep: (big butt)
( Sep. 14th, 2011 11:10 pm)
Because the internet is my friend this evening, I present to you the earliest "Plus Sized" advertising in women's fashion, courtesy of Lane Bryant, the company that first brought us clothing to fit in larger sizes.

If you are not slender...

not slender

...or if you're downright stout...


Read more )
daphnep: (MmmwaH!)
( Apr. 8th, 2010 12:05 pm)
Jezebel.com commented on both of these things, but I want to draw them together in one place just to contrast them.

First of all, we have the Super-Photoshopped version of Michelle Obama on the cover of Good Housekeeping Magazine.

Then we have Marie Claire Magazine showing Jessica Simpson and bragging about "No makeup, no retouching!" Fascinating that these come out in the very same month. Interesting to see the two side by side.

One more of Jessica, just because I think she looks really good, this way. Of course, this still isn't "nature". It's all art, remember: the photographer, the designer, the editors--these images still came through layers and layers of "image-making process". But they're nice to see.

Discuss amongst yourselves.
daphnep: (big butt)
( Dec. 7th, 2009 08:41 pm)
[livejournal.com profile] lxbean made a point in my last "Visual Literacy" post, in a comment she said "maybe we're getting to a point where we can be liberated from the tyranny of these photos as ideal. ...Maybe if we got there, we could just say "ooh, pretty [if unrealistic] picture!" Kind of like we might say about a picture of a unicorn: pretty -- not real, but pretty."

She was referencing another blog entry (over here: http://twobodysolution.wordpress.com/2009/10/18/the-emaciation-proclamation/#more-370)...and I think she and Professor Bean are both right. In fact, it's exactly how I read fashion magazines: as cool illustrations, having little to do with my life or the reality I live in. It's also why I advocate blogs like "Photoshop Disasters" and why I think everyone should know the boundaries of what photo editing software can do--so that everybody can appreciate the pretty unicorns, and stop looking around for horned ponies, or even wasting their time saving up hard-earned money for one of their own.

To me, most photos I see in fashion mags look rather like the old Steve Madden ads:

Maddens chickie

Remember those? They're creepy, because you know they're stretched and distorted but they're still humanoid, and even cute. But you'd never, ever say "Oh, I think I'll diet until my legs look like that!" Would you? It'd be preposterous.

But these ads are different from others only because Madden's ad company was cheeky in the extreme. They didn't use any special tools or techniques, just the same ones we've been looking at for decades, now. But they stretched it far enough that we didn't have to be visually savvy to see through it.

More distorted pictures here, cut for size and quantity. )
Okay, in spite of being an admitted photoshop junkie, some of the wailing that happens when magazines, advertisers, etc. are "caught" editing their photos makes me roll my eyes and say "Oh, please."

As does the proposal of France passing a law that says images that have been edited need to carry a warning statement to alert their audiences to that fact, like a pack of cigarettes with a cancer warning.

A while back a YouTube video was being posted around wherein people were decrying the use of photo editing software, saying "But we didn't know we weren't looking at actual photos! We didn't know!" (I can't find the one that first got me going, now, because YouTube is so full of videos just like it. Watch a few, if you're so inclined...they're fascinating.)

Well, you are looking at actual photos, I'd say, the thing you didn't know (or try to deny) is that photos are not "real life", photos are art. Ceci n'est pas une pipe, and all that jazz.

And wearing my "art historian" hat, I always have to wonder, whenever I hear this statement, when did people stop knowing?

I look through the history of fashion magazines and advertising, in particular.

title or description

The American fashion consumer in 1933, for example, knew that the fashionable images on the covers of their magazines were artistic illustrations of feminine beauty, produced by the hand of an artist. The images may have been based on actual women, but they were largely a creation from the artist's mind, skillfully rendered in a way that would appeal to women who might buy the magazine (or the perfume, fashion, hosiery, and lipstick sold inside it).

More ahead, cut for lots of pictures )
daphnep: (big butt)
( Aug. 8th, 2009 03:48 pm)

My first year in college I had this ad ripped out of a magazine, taped to one of the walls in my dorm room, along with tons of other pictures.

That was years ago, and I know they're just playing to their target market, but I am happy to note the direction the sportswear company's "target market" is drawing them to, all these years later.

I'll post them all, because they're all great.

(Each one can be enlarged by clicking on it, to read the text.)
daphnep: (MmmwaH!)
( Apr. 14th, 2007 04:47 pm)
So Dove, makers of the "we use real women in our body lotion ad" has this website, and on it they have this film.

If you've got tha speedy intarnets and all the plug-ins, you can see it at:


Go to "Evolution Film", click "watch the film."

It shows, in quick time-lapse set to music, the model enter the studio as-is, get all made up and brushed and curled and sprayed and such, before the photo shoot, and THEN they show the Photoshopping that happens to the photo afterwards...and I'll just say "Wow. Oh, wow!"

I mean, I am the biggest Photoshop fan there is, and love to just play with it and figure things out, and I've watched that film six times now trying to see, quickly as they show it, just what tools they're using and what they're using them to do. I love it!

I mean, I know their point is that "even the models don't really look like that!", but come on, I already know that. Anybody who's sat front-row at a fashion show has seen a little jiggling cellulite and realizes that cameras do lie. It's nitty gritty of "how they do that" that really fascinates me.

I am also a big fan of "picking out the crappy photoshop jobs in ads and on fashion magazine covers" (Cosmopolitan is the biggest offender, with the most clumsy graphics department, I'd say), so I'm happy to give credit to the folks who do it well. And now, I feel like going to piddle around with Photoshop some more...


daphnep: (Default)


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