Spurred by the news that H&M use computer generated models local photographer Ian Hamilton (www.ianH.co.uk) decided to take some action. Local business women Joanne Dewberry, Heather Martyn and teen coach Lara Williams are lending a hand with 12 female models aged between 0-50 years all varying sizes and shapes. The idea is to photographer and promote real women models which are sorely lacking in the fashion industry.
Ian Hamilton, from Ferndown, shares he’s opinion “As a photographer it’s my job to make sure that my clients, whoever they are, look good in the photographs. Sometimes a client will ask me to “Photoshop” the images to make them look younger and these days it’s not just older clients asking for this – girls in their 20’s want to have perfect skin in their photographs and look as gorgeous as possible …. there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look your best, but should we be altering and manipulating images to represent something that doesn’t actually exist?
Enhancing images has been around for years and in the time of film it was limited to soft-focus filters and a bit of work in the darkroom, but the commercial editing of images in Photoshop goes way beyond that, to the extent that bodyshapes are altered, necks elongated and even skin tones lightened. As I read somewhere once, “Photoshop raises the bar of beauty to levels of impossible perfection”.
There’s so much pressure on youngsters nowadays to look good, and manipulated images of celebrities and models in magazines only increases that pressure. Alesha Dixon did a programme for the BBC3 a couple of years ago where she looked at the effect that this pressure was having on children even as young as 10, and campaigned to have more realistic images in the media. But the truth is that we live in a world where women are judged by their appearance.
When clothes designers use slender, even size zero models for their catwalks are they really showing clothes in the way that the majority of women can wear them, or are they selling a dream? Now, H&M have admitted using computer-generated bodies – isn’t it time for more reality in the world of advertising, or is that a wish too far?”
“The media bombard girls with influential images on a daily basis through magazines, TV programmes, music videos and advertising campaigns. These images are damaging confidence and self esteem as they make girls feel inadequate. Girls are placing unrealistic expectations on themselves, desperately trying to achieve the perfect body image” Teen coach Lara Williams, from Broadstone, has first hand knowledge and experience of how this effects our teenage population.
Joanne Dewberry, from Three Legged Cross,said “I had my 3rd child in May and therefore don’t really conform to the stereotypical models body but actually look like the majority of the population having just had a child! It’s unrealistic for new mums to be subjected to these images especially in times of low self esteem and low moods which is all to common when a baby arrives. We see lots of pregnant models but none just after, when they have wobbly bits!”
“My daughter is fast approaching her teenage years and I am very keen to ensure she embraces her body shape so I jumped at the chance to be involved not only as its a great cause but also to provide my daughter with the opportunity to meet strong, inspirational and real women who are happy in their own skin. Not these images that in some way make woman feel they are lacking.” said Heather Martyn, from Southbourne.
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