Keep it real: demand more

I'm a day late (and hopefully not a dollar short) with this post. I've been too busy until now to think! But I hosted my women's wine and book club successfully, I completed Fashion Forecasting (mark still to come), and I even sent my (fiscal) year-end review to my boss. Yeah!

So let's talk about this Photoshop situation. There are some parts of the fashion industry that I cannot and will not defend, and overuse of Photoshop is one of them. I think Photoshop abuse even qualifies as anti-feminist.

You have a gorgeous young model in amazing shape. You have beautiful clothes, hair, and makeup, all styled just right. You have an experienced photographer. You have a studio or a great location. And with all that, you need Photoshop?

It's insane. It really is.

Photoshop is like the Auto-Tune of the fashion industry. In sound recording, Auto-Tune gives you pitch perfection, but the result is sterile and a bit weird. Real musicians and singers don't need Auto-Tune. And I'm talking rock and roll musicians, who might produce something far short of perfection. That's the idea. It's not supposed to be perfect. It's supposed to be real. It's supposed to be honest. That's what art is.

Fashion photography should be real too. If I were any of the professionals I mentioned above, I would be insulted to have my work "Auto-Tuned." With Photoshop, you might as well hire some hack with a camera. You're just going to "fix it in the mix" anyway. What's the point of doing all that work, creating art, if it's only going to be homogenized in the end?

Julia Bluhm asked Seventeen editor Ann Shoket to publish just one non-Photoshopped picture a month, a request that Shoket ducked. Frankly, I think we should demand more. Use Photoshop as it was intended to be used, perhaps, to fix flaws in the photography, not in the model. But don't use it to hide pores, erase skin imperfections, even shave off pounds. If Cindy Crawford was a young model now, would we ever know that she had her trademark mole?

I'm old. I look at fashion magazines for the clothes and shoes and accessories. I really don't pay attention to model "perfection." But young girls aren't battle-hardened like I am. Even if they know a photo is altered, they have a hard time looking past that. And it can cause demonstrable harm.

I think the industry should wean itself from "Auto-Tune." I imagine that if asked, most people in the industry would say they care about the health and well-being of women and especially girls. Well, time to back that up with action. You can't say one thing and do another. We all know what speaks louder.

1 comment:

Dave said...

While I do hate to be curmudgeonly, the fashion industry is a money-making industry and definitely does not seem to care about anyone's welfare, unless that person is connected to their 'bottom-line'.

Real art is produced by people who live and love what they do for its sake.
The best consumers of art know this and look for such beautiful work, whether it is clothing, or music or any other art form.

Sadly, 'Auto-Tune'ing the world does not raise the bar, but simply creates an audience that does not appreciate real art. Further, as you suggest, young people do not understand these things, so believe this 'high standard' actually exists, and suffer until otherwise educated.
Long live live performance!