The debate about the models employed by fashion photographers and their weight (or lack thereof) is now not just limited to runway fashion photography and the larger fashion industry but also a concern for Getty Images which has issued a ban on all photographs featuring models with their body weight modified through photoshopping. The new guidelines, taking effect October 1, 2017, are in response to developments in the French fashion photography world beginning with a 2015 law regulating the health and employment of fashion models.
photo by Spencer Selover Ephotozine reports on the ban issued by Getty Images, describing it as a prohibition against the use of photoshopping to heavily modify the body image and type of the models depicted in the photographs submitted to the site with a particular emphasis on those photos that feature models that are “thinner” through photoshop. In a push for a more natural depiction of the human form, Getty Images also clarifies that the ban, which will come into effect beginning October 1, 2017, will also apply to images in which the model’s body is modified to appear larger, likely in a nod to the body dysmorphia that tends to impact males more frequently than females in which the ideal male physique is depicted as tall and muscular. The prohibition is in line with recent French legislation that requires photos featuring models modified with photoshop to carry a label identifying it as such. These new guidelines will also apply to photos submitted to sister website iStockPhotos.com. DPReview notes that a 2015 French law comes into effect on October 1, 2017, the same day as the new guidelines from Getty Images take effect. In an email to DPReview, Getty clarified its new policy with regard to altering model’s body types, specifically in the context of commercial stock photography: “It’s important to be clear that altering a model’s body shape as described by the new French law is quite rare in commercial stock photography (it is time consuming and is also against the increasing trend towards more authentic imagery) so is likely to affect only a small number of images in our collection. Regardless, we will be working with our customers to ensure that they can adhere to Article L2133-2 of the Public Health Code in France.” The Verge reports that the new law in France will also require models to provide a doctor’s note indicating that the model is of a healthy body weight in order for that model to pursue work with her agency without being reprimanded. Agencies that employ models without a doctor’s note could face heavy fines. A similar law is in effect in the US state of California. The guidelines only apply to the enlargement or slimming of the body and do not cover alterations such as removal of blemishes or tattoos, altering hair or eye color, or even modification of overall skin tone.