Photos painting pictures

I came across this vintage poster from 1937 a few days ago, aimed at enticing an international market to come visit Australia:


The artist is Douglas Annand.

Some links I’ve also followed in the last few days, in discussions about the second anorexic catwalk model to die this year:

The (Photoshop) Art of Beauty – mouseover the pictures to see the originals. I found the airbrushing of male celebrities most jarring – I guess I’ve known about fashion retouching for so long that none of the women’s shots surprised me, but airbrushing the men did.

Comparatif photos anti pro-ana – photos retouchee – a French site of original fashion images side by side with the retouched versions on pro-anorexia sites which strongly emphasise skeletal details (contrast to the shot in the link above where the too-prominent ribs of one model have been retouched to disappear). NSFW alert: At the bottom of the linked page are some nudes that are allegedly not retouched – a Japanese anorexic who did many nude/swimwear photoshoots under the name Bony Pink (rumoured to now be dead).

Once you’ve read that, come back for another look at the blooming health of the woman above from 70 years ago. You’ll need the eye-soothe.

Categories: arts & entertainment, gender & feminism, health


7 replies

  1. Excellent links. It’s an oft-stated issue on Flickr, too, and I like ’s Real/Ideal set of images on the subject.

  2. Oh, nice link right back at you. Thanks for that.
    Regarding fashion industry reaction to the health crisis of anorexia, it’s time to boycott Valentino (especially the leathergoods and perfumes, which is where the top designers all make most of their money). Here’s what he said last week:

    Asked about the Madrid Fashion Week ban on too-skinny models, the designer said, “When you present clothes for the first time on the runway, you need to have somebody with a very elongated body. If you have a big girl, it’s impossible. I don’t know why we have to change just because Madrid came out with a fat girl.”

    Right, if they’re not one sausage away from a trip to hospital, they’re too fat. Fuck off, Valentino.

  3. Christ on a bike. I can’t image the world where making models look MORE like skeletons seems like a cool thing to do.

  4. It’s hard to tell just how much different the models look from the ana-versions to the “original” versions – fashion photography is so routinely photoshopped anyway before it’s ever published.
    People wanting extreme weight loss call such pictures “thinspiration”. I went and had a look at a few forums today – one commentor posted approvingly of Bony Pink that she was so gorgeously tiny and delicate that “a toddler could pick her up”.
    Certain people seem to yearn to be so fragile and delicate that people will just gaze at them with pure admiration and wonder at their self-control (it really doesn’t register that non-anorexic people are actually attempting heroic politeness in the face of their horrific illness).

  5. Presumably the photo of Renton in the Daily Tele has been ‘p-shopped’? At some point? & while I’ll more than happily join a consumer boycott of these products, somehow I don’t think the empires of fashion will be trembling in their Manolo Blahniks. The interesting question is how would you get the women who do consume this stuff to demand that models aren’t Size 4 ( & what the hell is that about – sorry but i can’t help thinking we’re peddling virtual kiddie p0orn with this stuff – is that how maturated women wish to present themselves – as pre-menstrual girls? & as for the argument
    “”When you present clothes for the first time on the runway, you need to have somebody with a very elongated body. If you have a big girl, it’s impossible.” well i would assume he does want to sell some of the product, functioning as pret-a-porter. Will his consumers be very elongated? Ah but of course – its the idea that matters. Mmmmmm.

  6. The photo of Renton almost certainly was retouched before publication, even if only to even out skin tones, etc. It may be several years old as well, before her weight became fatally low. Also, some anorexics suffer organ failure well before they get their weight down to the Bony Pink stage, it’s all very dependent on individual physiology.
    Changing the attitudes of haute couture consumers is most unlikely, really. Many of them will be anorexic themselves, treating their diet as a form of elite body modification demonstrating supreme self-control, perceived as even better if one has the finely tuned control to make oneself continue to eat just enough that one keeps menstruating rather than falling into the ultimately fatal trap of not-eating controlling one. (ExhibitA: Victoria Beckham)
    The designers are perfectly happy if their clothes are only worn by celebrity x-rays and their socialite x-ray sisters. It gets the label in front of the magazine readership to persuade them to buy the handbags, shoes, jewelry and scents. Those “aspirational” consumers outside the celebrity-socialite milieu are the designers’ bread and butter, not the haute couture and not even the pret-a-porter. The runway clothes are merely the packaging surrounding the accessories range. Changing the general magazine readers’ attitudes will hurt the designers perpetuating this misogynist aesthetic much more than trying to change the attitudes of the hauterati.

  7. Look how beautiful and curvy she is. I’ll never understand why society turned to making beautiful women sickly skinny modeling purposes. I think that women look far more beautiful when they look healthy.
    Gini’s last blog post..Create Your Own Art Online For Free – 5 Sites You Shouldn’t Miss

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