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One of the controversial issues in the world of photography is the use (or perceived over-use) of post production editing software like Photoshop.
Many of your will be aware that the UK recently banned L'Oreal's Lancome and Maybelline brands from showing ads with too much “airbrushing” including one with Julia Roberts and another with Christy Turlington. The argument was that the photoshopped image of Julia gave an unrealistic expectation of the advertised cosmetic products thereby misleading the public. Effectively false advertising.
The UK Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) was quoted as saying, “On the basis of the evidence we had received we could not conclude that the ad image accurately illustrated what effect the product could achieve, and that the image had not been exaggerated by digital post production techniques.”
The creator of the Campaign for Body Confidence, Jo Swinson said, “This ruling demonstrates that the advertising regulator is acknowledging the dishonest and misleading nature of excessive retouching.”
These are some pretty strongly worded claims.
On the other side of the fence, many people will point out that an image is “processed” as soon as it hits a digital sensor. Photoshop does very little that wasn't achievable in a traditional darkroom. Anybody who has worked with film will also know that many commercial images shot on film undergo days of darkroom processing before arriving at the final image.
So where should the line be drawn? Was the UK right to ban the Julia Roberts ads? How much Photoshop is too much?