The fashion industry is going through a makeover of its own. A few years ago, Spain began by rejecting some models, for fashion week, on grounds that they were too thin and perpetuating negative body image. Now, with the prevalence of leaked “before and after” photos all over the internet, from Kim Kardashian’s Complex Magazine shoot to Madonna’s latest album shots, people are realizing the heavy hand that re-touchers have in generating the images that we see.
Photoshop editing such as making blemishes disappear and color correcting are a fact of life. But as graphic tools have evolved, so has the amount of “correcting.” Waists and hips are shrunken, legs are made longer and twenty years of aging are wiped away. The line between “fantasy” and unattainable standards of beauty is blurred.
At what point does all the photoshopping make women look eerily unnatural? That point is now. We are experiencing a “photoshop backlash” where natural beauty is de rigeur. A while back People Magazine released their annual “Most Beautiful People” issue and some celebrities bravely faced the camera armed with nothing more than moisturizer. In the April issue of French Elle, the magazine featured eight women including Eva Herzigova, Monica Bellucci, Sophie Marceau, and Charlotte Rampling, sans fards, wearing no makeup and without any retouching.
These unadulterated images of natural beauties are refreshing after the constant bombardment of overly perfect faces (and bodies) staring back at us in magazines. Is this backlash just a coincidence or a manifestation of a global “back to basics” approach to life – shunning all things that are superfluous? I think that like all fashion, beauty trends are cyclical, and that with all that is going on in the world people are getting back to simple pleasures. Perhaps the over-photoshopped pictures evoke the waste and superficiality of times past, and people just want to know what’s real. Whatever the reason, I’m a fan of the natural new wave.
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