Photoshopping In France Just Went Public

As of Sunday, in France, any photograph used for commercial purposes that have been photoshopped must state that the photograph has been altered. In fact, if a photo is found to be altered without the notice it has been altered, even slightly, the fine can be 30% of the cost to create it. That's a fine which can go as high as €37,500, the equivalent of roughly $44,000.

From fashion magazines to children's catalogs, it is rare to find a photo that has not been altered in some aspect. Not even the young, with their glowing, flawless faces are immune to photo alteration. According to an anonymous re-toucher in the fashion and beauty industry, 100% of all images we see in Fashion magazines have been altered. Even some nature photographers claim that most of their images have been altered for color or depth or to edit out unwanted parts of the image.

According to the BBC, the French government considers photoshopping images to be a public health issue. Many in the fashion and beauty industry campaign to warn young people that what they are bombarded with are not genuine, original images, and even the popular Getty Images, a stock-photo agency, has banned altered images from their public consumption files.

As far back as 2011 in the US, a push for legislation like the kind just enacted in France was on the lips of campaigners everywhere and in the ears of beauty and fashion executives. Thus far, no government agency has picked up on the campaign nor endorsed proposed legislation.

According to a 2015 report from Common Sense Media, “80% of 10-year-old girls have dieted. 90% of high school junior and senior women diet regularly. Young girls are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of nuclear war, cancer, or losing their parents.” But girls aren't the only ones who suffer from poor body image. According to the Atlantic, boys increasingly report poor body image, “Instead of doing something unhealthy to get smaller, they're using unhealthy means to become larger.”

Will France's new demand to be transparent about photographie retouchée in their country re-engage other nations in the discussion of harmful body image and false image in media which has been found to adversely affect young people? Will they move to push forward with like legislation? It's certain that the issue has yet to be met with as fierce a response by others as it has in France, but the discussion is open with no lack of willing negotiators.

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