Further to my quandary with regards to the moral and ethical implications on the airbrushing of images of clients children.Recently this has become main stream news .
This article went the rounds with most of the papers http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2071554/Blundering-photographer-erases-little-girls-birthmark-nursery-school-portrait.html
When Nikki Allan saw the picture of her daughter taken at her nursery, she was delighted with the photographer’s work.The samples showed two-year-old Omnee posing happily and naturally, and Mrs Allan was quick to order £10 prints for the family home.But she was horrified when the prints arrived to find that the photographer had airbrushed away the purple birthmark that runs from Omnee’s top lip to her cheek.
Omnee not airbrushed
Omnee after her image was airbrushed
‘I think it’s absolutely disgusting,’ said Mrs Allan. ‘Who is this man to decide my daughter isn’t perfect?’Luke Joyce, who runs Little Stars Photography, has apologised and said the picture had been altered by accident – it was the photo of another child which should have been changed.
But Mrs Allan, a 30-year-old retail merchandiser, said: ‘We live in a world which has all manner of pressures to conform and look perfect and for someone to decide that a two-year-old isn’t pretty enough because she has a birthmark on her face is scandalous.
‘Where does it stop? If one of the kids had wonky teeth, would he have altered them to make them “perfect”? It’s not up to him to play God. ‘There are enough worries about the prejudices she may endure later in life without having to worry about adult male photographers, especially when she’s just two years old.’
The photographer visited the Pebbles Day Nursery in Exmouth, Devon, around six weeks ago and took pictures of the majority of youngsters there. Parents were then able to view the photos and choose which ones to order. On these pictures, Omnee’s birthmark was still present.
Mrs Allan, who lives in Exmouth with her husband Stuart and other children Kelvin, five, and Brooke, three, said she did not accept Mr Joyce’s comment that the birthmark had been removed because of a mix-up with the photo of another child.‘What are the chances of another child requiring a birthmark to be removed?’ she asked. ‘I’m fuming. He’s offered us a free print but I don’t want anything to do with him.’
Sophie Edwards, manager of Pebbles Day Nursery, said several parents were unhappy with the photos. ‘Some children’s eyes appeared to have changed from blue to brown while others just didn’t look very good,’ she said.‘We feel very let down. Whether or not Omnee’s birthmark was deliberately altered I don’t know, but either way it’s a very unfortunate incident.’
Mr Joyce said he would not dream of altering a child’s photo for cosmetic reasons and Omnee’s picture had been altered because of a mix-up with reference numbers.‘I was mortified when I realised the mistake,’ he said. ‘I have spoken with Omnee’s parents and offered a free print.‘I hold my hands up and admit I made a mistake but that’s what it was, a genuine mistake.‘I would never alter a photograph in that way. How dare I? Who am I to decide what features should and shouldn’t appear in pictures?‘We are a small business with limited resources and this was a genuine oversight for which I am eternally apologetic. I thought the family were OK with the situation but obviously not.’
This has caused a lot of concerns with parents commenting in so many forums , a few of which are below
This is obviously some concern higher up as well .An article published in the Evening Standard in May 2011 http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23950658-airbrushed-images-make-children-worry-about-their-shape-warn-mps.do refers to a report by the government on the increase of of Body Image Anxiety in children and teenagers.
also see the small article by Sue Thomason http://www.any-body.org/ who is actually involved in the Parlimentry Group on Image Anxiety in the UK .
Another article that recently ran in the Metro Paper http://www.metro.co.uk/news/877129-children-to-be-shown-impossible-airbrushed-pictures-of-britney-spears states that children will be shown in class as young as 10 , before and after shots of airbrushed celebrities to help counter measure the false images that we see on a daily basis .
Another article stating that lessons are been given to children to spot the difference in airbrushed and non airbrushed images http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2043525/Schoolchildren-given-lessons-airbrushing-boost-self-esteem.html
Here is a video on YouTube stating the evils of Airbrushing
MP calls for ban on airbrushing http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/aug/03/airbrush-models-advertising-jo-swinson
Here is another YouTube video showing lots of before and afters
Another showing how extreme Airbrushes can be
Personally i don’t like the skinny models used in the fashion industry or the overly done make up , but that is my personal choice . I however don’t find it offensive either. What i do find strange is that the amount of grief the fashion industry is getting , being accuse of causing all these people Body Image Anxiety . Yes the images are misleading , but surely any body who looks on the net or reads papers are fully aware of this and don’t take that much notice of it all . If they wanna look good like the models then work out do your make up regime but have enough common sense to live in the real world and not the fantasy world of the so called stars .I think the kind of people that diet to extremes or have too much plastic surgery are slightly unstable at the very least and if it wasn’t the so called media causing their problem to manifest it self as it does then it would be something else . Im over weight , that’s my fault no one else im too lazy to go to the gym , not me giving up because i can never become a super model . People should take charge of their own life’s and the decisions they make with out blaming other things , they should know right from wrong . i know that isnt a straight across the board answer but taking responsibility has to start some where.
As to the altering peoples images with out permission it depends on what the use of the image is for . If its for the client then changing it without permission is a definite no, if the photographer uses that image for their own use , competition advertising then yes it is allowed in my opinion .
The below vid shows just how much a difference make up can make so combined with photoshop the images can be changed so much .