amd_lauren If French politician Valérie Boyer has her way , advertisements that feature air-brushed photographs of models may soon come with the same sort of disclaimers regularly seen in food ads—enlarged (or reduced, as the case may be) to create unrealistic expectations:

Valérie Boyer is 47, a member of the French parliament and a divorced mother of three. She is tall, fashionable and, dare we say it, slim.

But she has also created a small furor here and abroad with her latest proposal: a draft law that would require all digitally altered photographs of people used in advertising be labeled as retouched.

Some think such a law would destroy photographic art; some think it might help reduce anorexia; some say the idea is aimed at the wrong target, given that nearly every advertising photograph is retouched. Others believe such a label might sensitize people to the fakery involved in most of the advertising images with which they’re bludgeoned.


To those who fear such a law would “destroy photographic art”: really? What do you think “photographic art” is, exactly? Digitally shaving pounds off Kelly Clarkson to sell a magazine promising “total body confidence”? Or shrinking a 120-pound model’s waist down to the width of her head to sell blue jeans? If that’s the sort of thing the word would be deprived of if people were alerted to an ads’ airbrushing, well, I say good riddance.

Articles by Ryan Sayre Patrico

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