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All your images belong to us

The latest power grab by what the news simply calls ‘the experts’ is photoshopped images.

Calling for advertising rules to be changed to restrict the use of airbrushed images, the group of 44 academics doctors and psychologists say that the pictures promote unrealistic expectations of perfection, encouraging eating disorders and self-harm.

I think this does not go nearly far enough. Clearly the company behind Red Bull should be closely regulated as it is only a matter of time before someone drinks one and jumps off a building and falls to their death because contrary to their claims, Red Bull does not in fact ‘give you wings‘.

In short, as people who are not ‘experts’ are moronic halfwits incapable of telling reality from advertising hype, we must simply turn over all aspects of our life to government approved self-important technocratic prigs qualified ‘experts’ who can determine what we are and are not permitted to see.

We must ‘do it for the children’ of course.

23 comments to All your images belong to us

  • PersonFromPorlock

    In short, as people who are not ‘experts’ are moronic halfwits …we must simply turn over all aspects of our life to government approved … qualified ‘experts’ who can determine what we are permitted….

    Gosh, where’ve you been?

  • Brian, follower of Deornoth

    Haven’t the Telegraph anything better to print than press releases from these jumped-up twerps?

  • Mike Lorrey

    Nice segue into a product placement ad within the story….

  • Stonyground

    This one reminded me of one of those adveserial discussions that they have on Radio Four which was about banning TV ads that were aimed at children. The bansturbator was thwarted at every turn, her opponent being very well informed. He pointed out that the kind of ban being proposed had been tried already (In Sweden I think) and the result was a precipitous decline in the quality of kid’s TV and a generation of very gullible young adults. This revelation was followed by a vox-pops of British children who appeared to have developed a very cynical and streetwise attitude to the claims of advertisers.

    Maybe the self appointed experts in this article should be aware that even children understand that advertisers are being paid to sell you something and might be economical with the truth from time to time.

    As for female insecurity about their body image, I think that it may be innate. Just try convincing a woman that you actually prefer a big bottom and see the expression of disbelief on her face.

  • Red Bull does not in fact ‘give you wings

    Well, at least there is Santa Claus, right? Speaking of children, there was this little girl who after reading Harry Potter jumped off the kitchen counter with a broom between her legs. Natural selection?

  • bansturbator? Brilliant!

  • Alisa:

    I, too, love the word bansturbator. I’ve been thinking for some time that these people need to be looked at the way we look at perverts, getting their rocks off (or the female equivalent) on controlling other people.

    I think I’ve mentioned it here before, but your average pedophile can only anally rape one child at a time. The bansturbators, on the other hand, by deliberately infantilizing society, are harming all of the children at the same time.

  • Laird

    And of course, we should ban all Barbie dolls (and the like), since they have a wholly unnatural body shape.

    I did like the last line: “And gyms should offer discounted membership to children, the Lib Dems say.” It’s not bad enough that they want to regulate our every action and tax us for the privilege of being so regulated, they also want to off-load the cost of their folly onto private businesses. Typical.

  • Verity

    If you’re following Taliban syntax, the headline should read, “All your images are belong to us.”

  • Stonyground

    I really cannot take the credit for the word bansturbator, I stole it and to my eternal shame, I cannot even say from whom.

  • cjf

    There’s an old story that a group of experts couldn’t solve a problem for a long time. One day they see a common workman, who obviously had. As they gather around him, watching, he stops and asks what’s wrong.

    “For a long time, we’ve been unable to do what you have obviously done. How did you do it?”

    Nervously, he replies “Well, nobody told me I couldn’t”

  • Scott

    I seem to be in the minority on this one.

    I tend to liken the use of photoshop to fraud when it is used to create a perception that a product is more effective than reality makes it.

    Using it to add in a different background or change the color of a model’s hair is really just stage setting but to use it to erase wrinkles for example when selling a face cream, that has stepped way across the line. While it is common knowledge that this goes on I don’t think that the attitude of it being “acceptable fraud because everyone knows it’s hapening” excuses the fact that it is still fraud.

    If an ad contained the line “Will make you face wrinkle free” they could be prosecuted as the claim is demonstrably false advertising. Using a wrinkle free, photoshopped face and letting the audience draw their own conclusions is no different.

  • So by that logic Scott, should advertisers be allowed to use attractive models? After all, they clearly do not represent a realistically attainable aesthetic to most mere mortals.

    My view is that is someone thinks drinking Campari will actually put them into a world filled with exquisite sunsets and Eva Mendez, then photoshopping the image is unlikely to make much difference to their grasp of reality.

    More importantly I certainly do not want “image commissars” deciding what I can look at because it upsets some lard arsed teenager with acne.

  • Scott

    After all, they clearly do not represent a realistically attainable aesthetic to most mere mortals

    If it’s a real person without digital alterations then clearly it is an attainable aesthetic, even if unlikely. Maybe the product was responsible and maybe not, that is a judgement for the audience. I think using attractive locations and people is the normal jazzing up of the product, using what is in essence a fabricated, impossible to achieve appearance crosses the line from jazzing up into fraud.

    I’m not supporting the idea that advertising content needs to be regulated or approved by committee, that is just more statist nonsense. However I don’t believe deliberately fraudulent advertising is acceptable in print or voice, thus nor is it acceptable in image.

    Were a photoshopped model used to make a car ad more interesting to the eye it wouldn’t matter, the product being advertised is not being altered, only the scenery is. But if the product is the appearance of the model herself, for clothing, a hair care product or my previous eample of an anti-wrinkle cream then it does matter that the product has been made to appear more effective than could possibly occur.

    It is the difference between “possible but unlikely” with an attractive girl and “impossible” with a photoshopped girl. The public shouldn’t have to guess if the product has been falsely represented in terms of effects.

  • Mike Lorrey

    As I recall, one of these models has filed a complaint against her employer for alteration of her image with photoshopping. I think this is the appropriate way to go, treating alteration of a model’s image via photoshopping to be an unauthorized alteration of that model, akin to slander, as such gross alterations could damage that models future marketability.

    Its up to models to protect their image via contract and litigation, and consumer groups to hold advertisers and publishers accountable via market pressure. No need for statute here.

    Everybody in the publishing business knows most all womens magazines are nothing but catalogs.

  • widmerpool

    I’ve taken to wearing a face mask, not because I fear the flu, but because if people lives are ruined by mere images of perfection how much worse can it be for them to see me walking down the street.

  • Mike Lorrey

    Widmerpool said,
    “if people lives are ruined by mere images of perfection how much worse can it be for them to see me walking down the street.”

    You mean you always need to be photoshopped?

  • scott is, IMO , correct- but there is still no need for a statute. Merely disseminating the facts of the fraudulent images, via programmes like “watchdog”, newspapers and the internet should be enough to negate the effect of the advert, and if anyone is still taken in they can always take the manufacturer of the face cream (or whatever) to court if they feel that strongly about it.

  • Samsam

    Technology makes printing photos easy & cheap, so I always find it interesting when I see adds illustrated with drawings instead. If we ban photoshopping, do we also ban other illustrations as well? I’ve seen some drawings (the biro guy comes to mind) that are remarkably life-like.


  • JerryM

    My view is that is someone thinks drinking Campari will actually put them into a world filled with exquisite sunsets and Eva Mendez, then photoshopping the image is unlikely to make much difference to their grasp of reality.

    aka, Obama votes!

  • Scott

    I’m not suggesting that photoshop or any other digital effects should be banned from use in general, that would be silly. But think of an example using hair regrowth cream with a before and after image. Would you feel cheated if the “hair” on the after image was digitally added in because the product could not achieve that on its own?

    Why should the public have to be responsible for investigating and then spending their own money to challenge it in court when it is clearly fraud on the part of the advertiser, no less that using digital magic to vanish wrinkles on a face-cream ad? One single regulation that said “Advertisers may not alter the image of a person where the appearance of that person is suggestive of the products performance” should do the trick. It’s really not saying anything more than “You don’t get to lie with pictures” which I think is an entirely fair arangement. I’m no lawyer so I can’t phrase it in legal speak but you get my point.

    I mean really, are we saying that without the ability to fake appearances that the advertising industry would collapse? If the only way their product can be made to look effective is by trickery, then the issue isn’t photoshop.

  • Really Scott, you are looking for a solution to a non-existing problem. Just don’t buy the stuff – is that so hard?

  • Laird

    Also, Scott, that’s not what the article (or the proposed “new rule”) is about. Arguably what you describe is already prohibited under the various “deceptive trade practices” statutes. What they’re proposing is much broader: banning images which have been photoshopped for purely aesthetic reasons. Look at the example used in the article (did you read the article?): a Ralph Lauren model whose photo was (allegedly) photoshopped to narrow her waist and hips. That has nothing to do with the product’s “performance”, and it is being objected to solely because of the supposed harm it does to women’s psyches when they can’t live up to that ideal.

    No one is arguing that advertisers should be permitted to “lie with pictures”; that’s already a tort. What most people here are objecting to is yet more governmental regulation of advertising (or any other industry) because some “experts” claim that airbrushed photos “promote unrealistic expectations of perfection, encouraging eating disorders and self-harm”. And that’s idiocy, dangerous idiocy.