SEAN LEE-DAVIES

In prin­ci­ple,

Hong Kong Tatler - - The Great Debate -

I agree with the idea that peo­ple should be made more aware of dig­i­tal ma­nip­u­la­tion in fash­ion and beauty photography. Fe­males are, from a very young age, bom­barded by com­mer­cial images and stereo­types (think Bar­bie) that have a per­ni­cious ef­fect on how women per­ceive nat­u­ral beauty. How­ever, I’m scep­ti­cal that in­di­vid­ual la­belling of im­agery could be ef­fec­tively im­ple­mented with­out com­pro­mis­ing the artis­tic and en­ter­tain­ment value of mag­a­zines. Can you imag­ine buy­ing a fash­ion mag­a­zine and ev­ery photo in that mag­a­zine be­ing la­belled? Be­cause pretty much ev­ery photo in a mag­a­zine has been al­tered to make it more beau­ti­ful and as­pi­ra­tional. And where would we draw the line? Would this only ap­ply to large images? Would it also ap­ply to images on TV and the web? The ex­pe­ri­ence of read­ing a mag­a­zine would be­come a tech­ni­cal ex­posé of dig­i­tal al­ter­ation, rather than a mo­ment im­mersed in the ex­tra­or­di­nary, negat­ing the whole idea of why peo­ple buy mag­a­zines in the first place. Fur­ther­more, once you start lim­it­ing free­dom of ex­pres­sion, it’s a slip­pery slope to fur­ther cen­sor­ship.

LEE-DAVIES IS A PHO­TOG­RA­PHER, WRITER AND FILM­MAKER, AND HAS WORKED EX­TEN­SIVELY IN THE MAG­A­ZINE IN­DUS­TRY

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