Getty bans Photoshopped images that alter models’ body shapes

Taking effect back on October 1st, Getty images updated its Creative Stills Submission Requirements. The new requirements specify they will no longer accept images of models whose bodies have been Photoshopped; either to look thinner or larger.

The move by Getty Images around the same time a new French law requiring images that’ve Photoshopped the size of a model be clearly labelled. Magazines are now obligated to indicate when a photo of a model has been retouched or photoshopped. Failure to do so would result in a fine of €37,500 ($55,446CDN).

In an email sent to its contributors, Getty Images stated that although edited images of models’ body shapes are a no-go, “other changes made to models like a change of hair colour, nose shape, retouching of skin or blemishes, etc., are outside the scope of this new law, and are therefore still acceptable.” 

Getty bans Photoshopped images that alter models’ body shapes

“We have been passionate about elevating the ways in which people are portrayed by the media; and we have been very clearly communicating this to our contributing photographers,” said Getty’s spokesperson Anne Flanagan. “In fact, we’ve seen a trend towards stepping away from the hyper-airbrushed, perfect images of the past and a growing demand for intersectional realism.”

Moreover, France placed a ban on the use of unhealthily thin models; while two luxury powerhouses, LVMH and Kering, joined forces to ban size zero models and girls under 16.

Retouching images is a common practice in marketing and the media; this development, however, comes when public conscientiousness regarding weight and image is undergoing a radical shift. Submitting this type of altered image will result in the photographer breaching both submission guidelines and their agreement with Getty Images. The same change applies to iStock submissions, as well.

The policy shift undoubtedly will have significant repercussions across the industry and possibly beyond. The National Press Photographers Association also has its own standards: “Editing should maintain the integrity of the photographic images’ content and context.” The NPPA code urges photographers not manipulate images in any way that can mislead viewers or misrepresent subjects.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you think other countries should follow France’s lead?



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