The Photoshop Law
Since 1. October 2017, the so-called “Photoshop Law” applies in France. Since then, digitally retouched photos have to be labeled with “photographie retouchée”. The law refers to commercial photos and specifically targets alterations to the body shape of models (thinner, thicker, taller, longer legs, etc.) Smoothing skin, removing blemishes, airbrushing, changing hair colour, and other “minor” image edits being excluded. In addition, models working in France must present a medical certificate certifying their health. Guideline is the Body Mass Index (BMI).
France is not the only country with such or similar laws. Israel also requires advertisers to label retouched images. In addition, models have to have at least a BMI of 18.5. Several countries like for example Belgium, Spain and Italy also have a minimum BMI for models. And also in Germany suitable regulations and laws are discussed regularly.
Edit or not?
Of course, there is nothing wrong with edited and retouched images in general. After all, image editing offers incredible fantastic possibilities. And many grandiose pictures would not be possible without digital editing. The decisive factor is always the desired visual statement and the right amount of editing.
The fact that images are processed digitally, especially in the field of advertising, is no secret. However, slowly a change of thinking seems to take place. For example, shortly after the French law came into force, the image agency Getty Images announced that they would no longer accept images in which the body shape of models was modified. And we also notice changes in image editing and retouching. For example, in the field of beauty retouching, the demand for a natural image retouching is increasing. More and more customers want natural photos, with which the viewer can identify. A work that requires a lot of tact, as you can read in our blog post about natural image retouching.
There is no doubt that we are influenced by retouched images, whether active or subconsciously. Whether a label will change this and to what extent remains to be seen. In any case, the topic will continue to be discussed in the future. And certainly always be a balancing act.