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Photoretouching the Joneses

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Keeping up with the Joneses… for the longest time that seemed like the American past-time. See your neighbor get a 50″-inch flat-screen television, you had to spring for the 72″-incher. See your neighbor roll up in a BMW 3-series, you had to get yourself a lease on a 5-series. See your neighbor install a hot-tub? You had to dig your own in-ground pool. For years, consumerism dominated America and so many people went in the hole to one-up their neighbors, friends, and family.

Fortunately that little game seems to be waning along with the economy but I find that this unhealthy competition looks a lot like photo-retouching… something a recent Dove commercial railed against.

What’s my point?

You can retouch all the photos you want but what’s underneath is what’s authentic and real. All the women in those magazines started off beautiful, they wouldn’t have been chosen otherwise, and the retouching created an image that is simply unattainable and unrealistic. Did you see how they used computers to stretch that model’s face? It looks weird when you know what she started out as but once you throw it on a billboard, it looks normal.

It’s the same with our ridiculous level of consumer consumption. When you see that fancy new car or that nice television, chances are you don’t see the high level of consumer debt (credit cards? second mortgage? HELOC?) that’s behind it. We envision a lavish lifestyle as normal and stretch ourselves to attain it. Someone should do a commercial about that.

Be true to yourself and who you are, don’t try to keep up with someone digging their own financial grave.

To help occupy the rest of your weekend, here are some more retouched photos:

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6 Responses to “Photoretouching the Joneses”

  1. Millie says:

    Holy cow, that video is ridiculous! By the time they’re done, she looks nothing like the billboard..

  2. Moneymonk says:

    Wow- I think every girl or boy that is crazy about looks, should see this video

    So cool. We all live in a fantasy world

  3. tom says:

    Very well said, digging your own financial grave.

    From the standpoint of a 24 year old, this is horrific to see others around my age getting sucked into this and by the time they graduate, they have usually around 20K or more in debt. What is next, a car? family? mortgage? That is horrific.

  4. TStrump says:

    That video was certainly disturbing – modern views of beauty and living standards have certainly become unattainable.

  5. Rap Music says:

    I remember when this video first surfaced. It really does an incredible job at showing how different people actually look in advertisements/tv in comparison to real life. What’s sad is that young girls and boys look to this advertisements and admire the look of these phototouched models, and dream of their falsified beauty.

  6. Daniel says:

    Good article. As an art director, I enjoyed the photoshop links. I worked for a consumer publication for many years and we had our own “swimsuit issue” of sorts, so I am VERY familiar with the level of heavy retouching that is involved with these images we see and often aspire towards.


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