France and UK are discussing if they should aware people when advertising, propaganda or press pictures are retouched.

Nowadays, retouching techniques have become really common in many areas. Newspapers, magazines, brochures, billboards… even in non-professional’s pictures we can find the use of Photoshop. It is used with politicians, models, actors… as it has become so frequent we can say it’s practically replacing the elder photo development.

French congresswoman Valérie Boyer, member of Sarkozy’s party, is trying to establish a new law that would make all retouched photos be accompanied by the following advise: “Photograph retouched to modify the physical appearance of a person”.

France is actually following the proposal made by de United Kingdom, one of the firsts countries to raise the issue. In this case, they are trying to ban retouching in pictures with people under 16 years old.

In France, they want to apply the law to advertising campaigns, press, artistic photographs and even in political propaganda… which means in almost every image. If this law is finally approved, the fine could reach 37.500 €.

We wonder if the issue is so important to establish a rule like this, or whether this same measure is too exaggerated.  In our business sector, the use of Photoshop as well as other design or 3D programs helps us creating real and unreal sceneries, but we don’t try or we shouldn’t try to manipulate people. Our job is always exposed. Everyday ad campaigns are removed due to complaints from associations or groups concerned with a particular cause. Nevertheless, in other sectors, like in the movie industries, everything is allowed.

¿Are we in the right to restrict the freedom of those who create images or do we have to protect easily influenced population? ¿Is society so easily manipulated? ¿Should we establish advisory signs for other things? For instance, if a politician isn’t completely sincere… ¿should we alert society with a tag or would it be too obvious?


Paula Hércules

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