Extreme Photoshopping…The Documentary?

extreme-photoshop-before-afterBy Regina Simone

We’ve all seen the video, right? The one that went viral recently of the woman in a red bikini bottom laying on her stomach, posed, while a team of professionals did her hair, makeup, and took her photo? And after all that, her photo was manipulated–so far away from what she originally looked like–using Photoshop, that she was unrecognizable as the same woman.

AJ Hammer of HLNtv.com interviewed the model, Sally Gifford Piper (sporting a short, brunette curly hairstyle – which only emphasized more drastically the difference of her appearance in the video), and her husband Tim Piper who, it turns out, directed the video, entitled “Body Evolution.”

Gifford Piper said she did this because, although it’s understood that Photoshop happens, she wanted to “draw attention to the fact that it’s really harmful on women…” stating that “we can’t live up to this standard of perfection,” and that this whole experience has brought her “positive feedback that’s really empowering.” Brava, indeed.

OK, so we know that Photoshop happens (maybe not to that degree), but what was the point of the viral video? To bring attention to it, yes, but what else? Apparently, there’s a movement with the hope that there will soon be disclaimers put on photos where the model’s image has been severely altered by Photoshop.

Tim Piper explained, “I think there’s going to be a tipping point…we’re starting a Kickstarter campaign to do a film about it, and there’s the Global Democracy site where people can vote on things like this…when people decide now’s the time, I think they’ll act…”

Hammer replied skeptically: “I don’t know if that’s a realistic thing, but surely moves it in the right direction.” Which is kind of sad, but true.

Personally, I’m glad this video was made to bring light to the unrealistic beauty industry standards–which makes no sense if they just digitally alter the images anyway. I mean, ANY woman could be a supermodel when Photoshop is applied.

The question that arises is, if this video was not only meant to bring awareness to the Photoshop controversy, but also awareness to a fundraising Kickstarter campaign for a film about it, then how do we know they didn’t make it a more dramatic transformation to fuel that purpose?

After all, people are supposed to receive this message, then donate money for the film. If we don’t, are we guilty in some way? Is it not what he meant by “act”? Do we need a whole film about it? The Youtube clip was moving enough for me to want to vote.

Also, what if the photoshopper was a woman, hired to do extreme photoshopping for a magazine? What does that make her? She may not agree with what she has to do, but it’s a job that pays her rent (competition is tough, and she has this well paid job in something she’s good at). Should she be blamed in some way? Who is really accountable for these unrealistic beauty standards?

Regina Simone is a freelance writer, blogger in New York City via Texas. She has written for Bust Magazine, 002Houston Magazine, and various sites. She loves anything to do with and loves to do anything with Women’s interest, yoga, fashion, food and travel.
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