Retouched Photos Of Models Now Require A Disclaimer
Questions about whether a perfect-looking model could possibly be real will soon be answered more definitively in France, where new rules stipulate that some digitally altered images must come with a disclaimer.
The law says any models appearing in commercial photography whose bodies have been made thinner or thicker by image processing software must be accompanied by the notice of “photographie retouchée,” or retouched photograph.
Failure to comply with the new law is punishable by a fine of more than $44,000, or 30 percent of the money spent on advertising.
France’s former health minister, Marisol Touraine, initiated the idea, according to the newspaper Le Parisien.
“It is necessary to act on body image in society to avoid the promotion of inaccessible beauty ideals and prevent anorexia among young people,” Touraine said, according to the French daily. It reported that eating disorders affect some 600,000 people in France.
France has a history of taking a stand against the promotion of unhealthy body images. In 2015, it passed a law aimed at banning the hiring of models deemed “excessively thin,”. The French government passed the bill decreeing that models working in the country must possess a medical certificate deeming them fit to work, in a bid to prevent the use of “excessively thin” models. Italy, Spain and Israel have passed similar legislation.
Measured using body mass index (BMI), models’ health will be evaluated by a medical professional – who will be permitted to take into account the individual’s weight, age, and body shape to ultimately determine their wellbeing, The Fashion Law reports – and companies will be prohibited from employing any model not in possession of a certificate. Any company found to be hiring models who have not provided the certificate will be liable to a fine of more than £50,000 and could be given a prison sentence of up to six months.
Despite the seemingly positive agenda behind the move, model agencies in France are less than impressed – with many feeling that regulating and increasing sample sizes as an industry standard would be a kinder and fairer way to legislate.
“The power is in the hands of designers, photographers and editors,” Isabelle Saint-Félix, general secretary of Synam, France’s union of model agencies said. “They’re the ones who make dresses in size 34 or 36 (American sizes 00 or 0), who decide to shoot or feature them. Modeling agencies respond to the demand of advertisers, designers and photographers. One asks models to fit in a dress – not the opposite. I would like everyone to sit around a table and say that the time of models who are too thin is over.”
The Photoshopping rule goes into effect October 1, 2017 in France, but it’s already having a ripple effect across the Atlantic.
Also as of October 1, 2017, Getty Images, the widely used American stock photo agency, is no longer accepting creative content “depicting models whose body shapes have been retouched to make them look thinner or larger,” according to Getty spokeswoman Anne Flanagan.
Flanagan said the move is a direct response to France’s rule. She added the company is not looking to phase out such retouched images, but will be labeling those it already has.
“Altering a model’s body shape as described by the new French law is quite rare in commercial stock photography,” Flanagan said, noting that it is time-consuming and bucks “the increasing trend toward more authentic imagery.”
But Flanagan says the change is an important one nonetheless.
“Our perceptions of what is possible are often shaped by what we see,” she said. “Positive imagery can have direct impact on fighting stereotypes, creating tolerance, and empowering communities to feel represented in society.”
The nonprofit National Eating Disorders Association, or NEDA, says numerous “studies have linked exposure to the thin ideal in mass media to body dissatisfaction, internalization of the thin ideal, and disordered eating among women.”
“Seventy percent of girls ages 10 to 18 report that they define perfect body image based on what they see in magazines,” said Katherine Record, deputy director with the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission.
Some 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lives, according to NEDA.
The law, as written is below:
Les photographies à usage commercial de mannequins, définis à l’article L. 7123-2 du code du travail, dont l’apparence corporelle a été modifiée par un logiciel de traitement d’image afin d’affiner ou d’épaissir la silhouette du mannequin doivent être accompagnées de la mention : ” Photographie retouchée “.
Les modalités d’application et de contrôle permettant la mise en œuvre du premier alinéa du présent article sont déterminées par décret en Conseil d’Etat, pris après consultation de l’autorité de régulation professionnelle de la publicité et de l’ Agence nationale de santé publique.
Le présent article entre en vigueur à la date de publication du décret mentionné au deuxième alinéa, et au plus tard le 1er janvier 2017.
Le non-respect du présent article est puni de 37 500 € d’amende, le montant de cette amende pouvant être porté à 30 % des dépenses consacrées à la publicité.
Or if you prefer the english version:
The photographs for commercial use of mannequins, defined in article L. 7123-2 of the Labor Code, whose body appearance has been modified by image processing software in order to refine or thicken the figure’s silhouette. mannequin (in the version of this law, mannequin refers to a live model, not a static display figure) must be accompanied by the words: “Photo retouched”.
The implementing and control procedures for the implementation of the first subparagraph of this Article shall be determined by decree of the Council of State, after consultation with the professional regulatory authority for advertising and the National Health Agency public.
This section comes into force on the date of publication of the order referred to in the second paragraph and not later than January 1, 2017.
Failure to comply with this Article shall be punished by a fine of € 37,500, the amount of which may be increased to 30% of the expenditure on advertising.