The brouhaha about uber-skinny models continues. Opponents believe Twiggy-like models are negatively influencing women and young girls by setting body standards for beauty that are difficult, if not impossible, to realize. Some opponents contend that manipulated images should be labeled as such.
The latest fracas involves Ralph Lauren's company and a model, Filippa Hamilton, who has been a long-time staple of Lauren's marketing and advertising campaigns. An absurd image of a Photoshop-induced, body-distorted Hamilton appeared on the cover of a Ralph Lauren catalog in Japan.
Here's the image causing the stir. Obviously, someone got carried away with the Liquefy Tool and whoever was responsible for approving the catalog's pictures didn't object.
Ms. Hamilton, in interviews, says her long-term contract with Ralph Lauren was terminated because, according to Hamilton, she was fired for being too fat.
Recently, Hamilton appeared on MSNBC to discuss her issues with the photo as well as her dispute with Ralph Lauren. You can view the video interview HERE.
Personally, I think the notion of warning labels on pretty girl pics are a crock of shite. There are many consumer-targeted images, as well as consumer products that include warning labels. Cigarettes are a good example. Anyone believe tons of smokers have quit because of the warning labels on a pack of smokes? Or plastered on advertisements?
Some warning labels are effective and appropriate, e.g., those that read, "Poison." And while cigarettes probably qualify as poison, it's a different kind of poison: One with addictive qualities as well one that ain't gonna kill you right away or make you dangerously sick in an immediate manner.
Same goes for warning labels on images. I don't think the incidence of anorexia are going to seriously decline because an image of a supermodel, one where she appears extraordinarily thin, comes with a label that reads, "This Image Has Been Altered and Manipulated for Aesthetic Reasons."
While I agree there's undo pressure on young girls in terms of body shape and beauty in general, i.e., it's the fashion industry that is setting unreal and unachievable standards for beauty, it seems to me it's up to childrens' parents to set them straight and help them understand what is beautiful about them, what is healthy and what is not.
I also understand that obesity is a major health problem, especially in America. But again, I defer to parents. Try monitoring what your kids are eating, how much they're eating, how much exercise they're getting and maybe think about preparing a healthy lunch or dinner for your kids, rather than taking them to the local MickeyD's next time they're hungry.
I'm as guilty as the next photographer of altering and manipulating images of the models I shoot. Sure, I'm trying to make them look as good as they can. I don't merely rely on post-production to do this. I use lighting, pose, makeup, hair, composition, and wardrobe and props to achieve this. I'll admit I also use post-processing techniques. But these techniques aren't the only trick I employ and I don't overly depend on post.
The image at the top is Penthouse Pet, Shawna Lenee. Rather than glamming her up, my client wanted her more natural, i.e., with the makeup and hair. Although Shawna is in her mid-twenties, they also wanted her looking like a late-teen. Besides the makeup, that direction impacted my lighting, as well as the poses and expressions. I don't think Shawna looks unachievable in terms of beauty and body shape. Yeah, those tits cost a few a bucks. But breast enhancements aren't completely out of the reach of most women these days. They've certainly become commonplace enough.
Here's a thought: Do you fantasize about spending the night with a young lady with a body-shape similar Shawna's? Or, do you dream of spending quality time with a woman with Twiggy's shape? Yeah, I know that some of you guys like 'em skinny. Maybe even real skinny. But most of you don't.
Shawna captured with a Canon 5D w/ 17-40 f/4 L glass. I used three, Profoto Acute2 heads: Two in front on either side, modified with medium umbrellas, and another, boomed up high on the left side and modified with a small, shoot-thru, umbrella. ISO 100, f/8 @ 125. MUA was Sarah.