This post could drift off into a number of directions but I’ll try to stay on point. A recent news item made an huge impression on me … but first, this aside:
I became involved in photography well before digital was ubiquitous or affordable. Photographers understood lighting, reciprocity, grey scale, light temperature, how to call a clip test, how to develop and print in a dark room, and knew to shoot the image right – the first time. Models were beautiful (and still are) and made more perfect thanks to the mad skills of makeup artists. Retouching was very expensive and time-consuming; a project sent out to an airbrushing expert. ‘Enhancements’ could be achieved, to some degree, in the darkroom by burning and dodging … then we got Photoshop.
It’s safe to say that the beauty industry is huge; L’Oreal , the world’s largest cosmetic maker, reports revenues of over $6.2 billion. Estee Lauder’s revenues hover over $7.3 billion. There is big money in beauty. With that, I take no umbrage.
Responses were, in essence, identical. The best: “C’mon. Really? Even an infant has pores”.
I sigh sadly and shrug off a lot of images that I see which obviously have been Photoshopped (yes, now a verb ;-)) to nullify any approximation of reality; yet something in the heart of me continues to quietly scream ‘umbrage’.
So … back to that news item …
The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) apparently shares some of this umbrage. They recently pulled a Lancome advertisement, featuring Julia Roberts, due to “serious overtime” of image manipulation. The ASA also pulled an ad for Maybelline’s ‘The Erasure’, with Christy Turlington, which was deemed misleading. You can find the adjudications from the ASA here: Maybelline and Lancome.
And I get it. Really. Advertising is the part of marketing that’s a little bit fantasy, a touch of daring, and a dash of surreal. Caveat Emptor. Your Hyundai Accent is never going to look as sexy in your laneway as it does in that TV commercial.
But beauty is a bigger issue than that. Society had deemed ‘aging’ as a disease. By definition, disease is a disorder of structure or function. Aging is NOT a disorder; we all have an expiry date. Our organs and faculties deteriorate over time and will eventually fail. I’m not being cynical ~ it’s just true. The only ‘anti-aging’ remedy I can determine as somewhat effective is to remove all of the clocks from your home.
If one wants to age well and gracefully, the answer isn’t found in a serum or under a knife. Eat good food, drink lots of water, take care of your skin, smile and laugh often, love always, and be kind whenever possible (it is always possible).
Age Gracefully from the Inside Out ~ if you learn and share, respect yourself and others, love well and are well loved, does it really matter how many lines are on your face?