The one thing about new media is how apparent flaws in our societal values can become when it’s used the wrong way. Target is the latest brand to have abused their Photoshopping privileges, as Jezebel first noticed. Target’s website featured a teen model wearing a junior’s swimsuit with a square “thigh gap” poorly Photoshopped as well as a chunk taken out of her hip and an obviously edited arm resting on her leg. The photo has since been taken down but blogs and news sources all over the Internet are reporting on this unfortunate photo edit.
While Photoshop is a valuable tool, it’s a blessing and a curse. I find it really sad that a model for Target’s junior’s line was the subject of this – we are showing young girls what is supposed to be a societal standard, when really, there should be no standard at all. Brands like Aerie and Dove are fighting against these standards, which may be a better thing to do when scandals and accidents like these occur.
It is interesting to consider whether Photoshop is actually helpful or harmful, especially in the fashion and modeling industry. I personally think that Photoshop is a greater harm than a useful tool. It can be helpful to a point – touching up lighting, adjusting colors and tones, and maybe even removing a stray hair. However, modifying people’s bodies for the sake of modification is unnecessary and gives an unrealistic tone to the photo, especially when modeling clothes for a retail website such as Target’s. Retail websites are supposed to show their clothing products on real people to show a real fit, especially if a consumer is ordering them online. Aerie has started showing each size of bra on different models to show a “real-life” fit for women and girls shopping there. I think all retailers could take a lesson from Aerie.
Cosmopolitan magazine did a “digital makeovers” project with hosts of the “Today” show to illustrate how Photoshop can be used unnoticeably. When you put the photos side by side, it definitely is noticeable. Cosmo’s editor in chief Joanna Coles said she calls Photoshop “tidying up”, and the photo editors gave a diagram of how they changed Al Roker, Matt Lauer, Savannah Guthrie, and Natalie Morales with their editing skills. This was part of a campaign called “Love your selfie,” which hopes to inspire and empower self-confidence in people without needing Photoshop to do it.
I found this digital makeovers project shocking and effective as it showed just how many changes are made to photos that are published and how easily images like the ones Target had on their website are transformed. It just goes to show Photoshop has affected photography and photojournalism.
The Ethical Adman (2014, March 10). Target’s pathetic Photoshop disaster [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://workthatmatters.blogspot.ca/2014/03/targets-photoshop-pathetic-disaster.html?spref=fb&m=1
Feldman, J. (2014, March 11). Target’s Latest Photoshop Fail Looks Pretty Painful. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/11/target-photoshop-fail_n_4940819.html
Murray, R. (2014, February 27). ‘Today’ show hosts get digital makeovers thanks to Photoshop. Daily News [New York]. Retrieved from http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/today-show-hosts-photoshopped-article-1.1703667
Rose, R. (2014, March 10). Target Photoshops Junior’s Swimsuit Model With Disastrous Results. Retrieved March 11, 2014, from http://jezebel.com/target-photoshops-juniors-swimsuit-model-with-disastro-1540967946
Today (2014, February 27). See TODAY anchors get Photoshopped [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.today.com/video/today/54525815#54525815