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.
A fascinating analysis of the editing done to photographs from Victoria's Secret was linked today from Boingboing:

Part I:

Part II:

When I say "everything that's published in fashion magazines and advertising is edited", this is exactly what I'm talking about. It's not just the clumsily-removed handbag erased out, not just the gently-reshaped limbs and highlighted eyes and teeth and digitally plumped-up breasts, but a key thing that I often see but have a hard time identifying precisely, without the specific "before" photo or actual light set-up in front of me: All surfaces should have similar lighting. If her face is dark on one side and light on the other, then her arms should have the same pattern. However, this isn't what we are seeing. None of her body parts have proper lighting.

The author goes on to point out specific evidence for these alterations using a series of photo analysis tools that I've never seen before, a comparison of the model's skin tone in this and another photo, etc.

(Once again, I reiterate a point from previous conversations: such edited photos are morally neutral. Bad artistry, such as the removed handbag, sure is fun to mock, but I do not support any sort of creative limitations on what photographers and graphic designers may do to their work. I do, however, support educating the public so that we can be visually literate and easily realize the differences between fashion illustration and "real life". Websites such as the "hacker factor" are providing educational tools, and that's why I'm reposting it.)
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: (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...


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