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Getty Just Banned Retouched Images of Models

Getty Just Banned Retouched Images
iStock/Joan Vicent Cantó Roig

Getty is winning the realistic photography game.

In late September, Getty Images announced that the company would ban retouched images of human bodies.

The monumental announcement went into effect October 1, Dazed Digital reports, when the company changed the contracts for all photographers contributing work to its database. This change comes on the heels of the company’s promise that it would begin to diversify its stock imagery.

Getty announced it made its decisions in an effort to not contribute to the plethora of airbrushed and retouched images people see every day. “Our perceptions of what is possible are often shaped by what we see: positive imagery can have direct impact on fighting stereotypes, creating tolerance, and empowering communities to feel represented in society,” Getty says.

“[We want to] change the way women and other marginalized communities are represented in media and advertising.”

How Getty’s decision may effect people’s perception of “perfect”

In general, people see Getty’s move as positive. Carolyn Karoll, LCSW-C at Karoll Counseling, LLC, thinks Getty’s shift could make an impact because of its size. Karoll also adds that the more images that exist that show women and men as they really are—with cellulite, bloat, and wrinkles—the more normalized this new standard will be.

“As more men and women struggle with body image, this giant step can start a valuable conversation on mental health and our responsibility as a society to promote realistic images that showcase the world’s diversity,” adds Farrah Parker, branding consultant at FD Parker & Associates.

Getty and the industry

Paul Cram, actor, thinks Getty’s move to provide un-retouched images may not be about inclusivity, but streamlining its business model. “I don’t believe that this change is reflective of an underlying concern for body image — I see this as a smart business move to [provide] images that have more flexibility (retouched or not) to buyers.” Cram also adds that in general, this move will not change the industry. People will continue to alter and retouch images if that “product” continues to sell.

On that note, Mike Peyzner, an experienced photographer, adds that photography has benefited from photo “enhancement” techniques. But similar to anything, too much of a good thing is negative. “Highly retouched images bring an unrealistic standard. The industry is beginning to move in the direction of a more natural, less edited body type,” says Peyzner.

“Photography agencies will be more willing to create images that show what people actually look like without intensive Photoshop retouching.”

To that, we say good.

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