The Canadian clothing retailer, Jacob, has announce it will institute a no retouching photos policy (PDF). This news was covered by the Toronto Star and Fashion Magazine . The policy is a clever ad campaign that promotes a positive social image in connection to the brand without offering a lot.
While the new policy will limit the amount of retouching done to photographs, it does not remove all retouching. For practical photography and advertising purposes this is understandable. The perfect model and the perfect photograph are often ideals that can only be achieved through the use of photography techniques and darkroom (digital or old school) manipulation. As mentioned in the two linked articles “The company will still erase uneven skin tone or scars and will correct colours.”
The company wants to present itself as socially responsible, with marketing that will promote a healthy image of the female body. “By adopting an official policy and broadcasting it publicly, we hope to reverse the trend in digital photo manipulation that has become excessive in our industry,” says spokesperson and Communications Director Cristelle Basmaji. “Our decision to never reshape the bodies of our models is particularly innovative for our JACOB Lingerie campaigns.”
In their press release they state :
“ The basis of the new “no retouching” policy is to promote an honest and realistic image of the female body.“
The Toronto Star quotes Cristelle Basmaji, Jacob’s director of communications and marketing,
“We’re trying to be as realistic as we can. At the same time, the customer expects the image to be aspirational.”
These aspirational images are directed to a specific target audience, “the 25- to 34-year-old career woman who likes modern classics, whether she’s a lawyer or a school teacher.”
This campaign and the articles are an excellent jumping off point to have your students explore the issues of body image, photo re-touching, advertising techniques,and the media principles of values, beliefs and ideologies, target audiences, and constructed reality.
For other examples like the Faith Hill on the Redbook cover Photo Tampering Throughout History.