Tuesday, July 24, 2012

What the Elle? The Body's Photoshop FAIL

Usually newspapers and magazines get into trouble for Photoshopping models and celebrities to look thinner than they are. Now it seems they're trying to make them look fatter.

A few days ago the Daily Mail published this article about Australian supermodel Elle Macpherson and her supposed new boyfriend holidaying in Ibiza, along with this photograph and caption:

Screenshot from Daily Mail.

I think we can all agree Elle looks amazing, as usual. But something seems amiss. Her thighs seem fleshier, there's a bit of "muffin top" and a hint of belly poking above her teeny weeny string bikini. Is this really what "The Body" looks like these days?

Well, no, it isn't. Compare that photo to the main pic the Daily Mail used on the top of the same story:

Screenshot from Daily Mail.

Either Elle got a very speedy liposuction between those two snaps, or something fishy's going on here.

There are many photos from Elle's recent trip to Ibiza with Roger Jenkins, and weirdly her muffin top and bulging gut are invisible in all of them.

So what's going on here? Simply: Photoshop. Or perhaps we should call it "Fatoshop".

Elle's spare tyre is missing from all these photos because it never existed in the first place - as is evident from the original version of the offending photograph, taken in 2008:

Hang on, where's the fat?

That photo was one of several taken on the shoot of Elle's "Invisible Zinc" TV commercial on a Sydney beach in 2008. The Daily Mail credits the photo as being copyright of News Limited's photo arm Newspix, and now defunct Sydney agency Icon Images. Other online instances of the pic credit it to agency Rex Features, which has a bunch of similar shots in its online library.

Whatever the source, the pictures have been all over  the internet  for years, and "The Body" looks taut and toned in all of them, as she does in the actual commercial itself:

Now here's that original photo and the Daily Mail's version side by side:

Left: The original photo from Elle's "Invisible Zinc" shoot. Right: The photo that appeared on the Daily Mail last week.

Clearly the photo on the right has been digitally altered to make Elle look fatter than she is. But who did it? Someone at the Daily Mail? An intermediary agency? And more importantly: why?

Is it some kind of misguided attempt to make female readers "bond" with a publication, like BFFs cheekily scoffing chocs as they giggle at "fat" celebs? ("Look, supermodels are just like you! Be our friend and read us!")

Or is it just another cheap and easy way to make a story more "clickable", so readers will share it on Facebook and Twitter while breathlessly exclaiming "OMG ELLE IS SO FAT NOW LOL!"?

Whatever the motivation photo manipulation of this kind is straight out lying, and furthers the damaging representations of the female body that already saturate our media.


Thanks to The Fireblade Array for the tip-off.

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