Airbrushing: Debenhams say NO!

Last week, I wrote about my love/hate relationship with fashion photography and how my reservations about retouching have made me question how employable I would be in an industry were it is the norm. I really don’t want to do it; Adding to a problem, which has dramatically affected my body image for years, really doesn’t float my boat. So no, it’s not for me, thanks. Still, I can’t help worry about my future. Oh-er!

Thankfully, and to my utter delight, UK retailers, Debenhams, have decided to stand up against what I see as an unhealthy practice, opting to go without airbrushing for their new lingerie campaign. What can I say other than I’m delighted. There will be people who see this as a marketing ploy, and they’d be right; this will warrant Debenhams a lot of press attention, I have no doubt about it. But, behind all the press and scheming, it is a much needed, positive step in the right direction for commercial fashion photography. One that makes me feel like there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

Left: Original image. Right: Retouched image.

(Sorry about the two photos! I had to screen shot them. Click to see original post @ Daily Mail online.)


6 thoughts on “Airbrushing: Debenhams say NO!

  1. Great. I hope it gets LOADS of attention, LOADS. It’s absolute bull**** that we’re sold an idea of perfection. I’m sick of looking at airbrushing, advertisers know that every single woman on the planet is insecure about at least one aspect of her body -(oh what we could do if we weren’t ladies…) And this kind of advertising merely panders to that insecurity and in doing so fuels its mentally debilitating fire.
    If a photograph is airbrushed, then it should be stated as such, and not just a little barely-readable foot note. It should be stated like it is on that 3rd photo, with little arrows and notes saying what’s been done.
    Rant over… Thanks Sara! I enjoyed that! Xx

    • Wowza! Thanks for the lovely comment, Laura. I don’t think I could have said it better myself!

      You are right. Every woman is insecure. I’m insecure. I love photography and am pursuing fashion photography (minus the airbrushing, and including some curvy ladies), so it pains me to go against something that could, possibly, stop me working. We’ve been bombarded and saturated with fashion/advertising images and the airbrushing has slowly become more extreme. The worst part, for me, is I don’t think a lot of people would be able to tell you what was wrong with those images without those arrows. So yes, there should be some kind of marker showing people what has been changed. You can’t expect everyone to know the ins and outs of photoshop.

      It’s amazing seeing before and after photos. Like with the recent Britney pictures; I couldn’t get over her legs. It’s fake skin essentially, and even though I know it’s fake, I spend every day chasing this illusive ideal. Ridiculous. I hope it gets all the attention it deserves. The Debenhams model has no armpit for Christ’s sake.

      It really is a rant subject, so I’ll stop while I still can! Fingers crossed some more retailers follow suit!

  2. Hello there! I actually love your blog loads and completely agree with all you said about plus-size and fashion, and airbrushing. I did photography a-level with a focus on fashion and I hated photoshopping people’s bodies even though I had to for the course – it shouldn’t be necessary. (though doing things like eyes and hair is super fun!) – Rai x

    • Hey Rai!
      Thanks so much for the lovely comment. Sorry I’m only responding now; trying and failing to get ready for my trip to London tomorrow. FAIL.
      You are bang on though, it should not be necessary. If people can pick and choose whether it’s for them or not, I think the industry would be more accepting of those who chose not to do it. We can all dream, eh?! It’s really nice hearing another person who has studied photography say that. Editing is really fun, it’s just knowing where to draw the line!
      Hopefully, when I get back from London I’ll have some nice, non photoshopped shots to post. =)

  3. It’s so great that you’re high-lighting this. I mean, for flip’s sake, the original picture lady’s figure is pretty unattainable to begin with – how can we compete with the fake one?!? It’s bloody rubbish. Good for you for highlighting this load of codswallop. As they say.

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