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Picture perfect: Does Photoshop promote unrealistic ideals?

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In today's society we are constantly exposed to images via the media and advertising – it is estimated that the average city dweller sees over 5,000 per day. One particular piece of software, Adobe Photoshop, has the power to significantly alter such images. And as a result, celebrities are often portrayed as significantly enhanced versions of their true appearance.

Some celebs have taken a stand against the message that is sent with retouching images.British beauty Kate Winslet famously spoke out after she modelled for men's magazine GQ. The actress, famed for her curves, claimed that in the published photos the size of her legs was reduced "by about a third".  Kate expressed her disapproval, saying, "The retouching is excessive. I do not look like that and more importantly I have no desire to look like that". Actress Jamie Lee Curtis has also taken action against the enhancing of photos on numerous occasions – appearing in an underwear shoot without make-up or airbrushing. 

Keira Knightley's raunchy photoshoot for GQ magazine contrasts with her more natural red-carpet look

Now individuals are speaking out, too.American teenager Julia Bluhm recently sparked a petition against the use of retouched images in US teen magazine, Seventeen, collecting over 90,000 signatures in support of her campaign. Her hard work paid off when in the August issue the magazine promised to "celebrate every kind of beauty" from there on in. US Teen Vogue is her next target. Although Julia's fight isn't the first of its kind, she is the first example of a young person publicly protesting against the use of overly airbrushed images. 

Penelope Cruz's appearance in the Lancôme perfume campaign is an enhanced version of her true beauty

Modern technologies mean that airbrushing now comes as standard. Such enhanced images are proven as one of the most common triggers of low self-esteem – especially amongst teenagers. Unable to achieve the flawless skin, glossy hair or slender figures of photo-shopped models, ideals are heightened and confidence can wane.What do you think? Tell us your comments in the box below.

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