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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