Getty Announces New Image Regulations in Regards to Photoshopping Women's Bodies

Getty Announces New Image Regulations in Regards to Photoshopping Women's Bodies

Getty images, one of the world’s largest stock photo agencies, has just announced a change to its submission rules concerning women’s beauty standards.

The Photoshopping of women has been a hot topic over recent years. But now Getty is taking a step to try and secure more “realistic” beauty standards, having announced that from October 1, 2017, anyone submitting images has to declare whether the model has had her body digitally altered. The move comes after the French government enforced a similar law on commercial images, with failure to declare the alterations resulting in a fine of up to €37,500.

It’s a confusing sentiment, though, as the announcement focuses entirely on women's body size and shape, but not at all on their features. As referenced in their official statement, photographers and retouchers are still permitted to make body modifications on the likes of hair, skin, and noses without declaration, but changing the appearance of a subject’s body remains out of bounds.

How this will affect the industry is yet to be seen. Will it force magazines and media to ease off the Photoshop?

Read the statement in full below.

Important Information on Retouched Images

Effective October 1, 2017 a new French law obliges clients who use commercial images in France to disclose whether the body shape of a model has been retouched to make them look thinner or larger.

As a result, also effective October 1st, we have amended our Creative Stills Submission Requirements to require that you do not submit to us any creative content depicting models whose body shapes have been retouched to make them look thinner or larger.

Please note that other changes made to models like a change of hair color, nose shape, retouching of skin or blemishes, etc., are outside the scope of this new law, and are therefore still acceptable.

Effective 1st October 2017, any content submitted where this type of retouching has been carried out will be a breach of our Submission Requirements and your Agreement with us.

[via USA Today

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24 Comments

Ben Perrin's picture

I don't mind this in general, they can impose whatever rules on their site, but that fine is quite steep for not declaring alterations. I imagine this will become a bit hard to manage as well with all the grey areas around what constitutes manipulation. Time will tell.

Ryan Cooper's picture

I'm confused as to why the French law has anything to do with this? If they want to take a moral stand, all the power to them, but this is a business decision by an American country. If the goal is to make their catalog work in conjunction with the French law then all they would need to do is disclose which images have been altered.

It also is surprising that they are going to alter their business model in all regions to meet regulations in a single, relatively small, market.

Michael Holst's picture

This happens a with many international companies. They change their business models to fit new markets. Where the company originates does not really mean anything when you're doing business in a foreign market. McDonalds menu is different depending on where in the world you are. European countries wouldn't let credit card companies offer cards to their markets unless they had chip protection which is a kind of funny instance where regulations on credit card security were way more relaxed here in the states (in the country where the companies were headquartered) and we ran into issues. Thats a whole different topic but an interesting one that ties into international businesses.

It looks like Getty agree's with the law on a moral basis if they're going to use this new law to blanket their entire submission catalog regardless of origin. The article doesn't specify but it could also be that France is a larger market for fashion than we think.

While the United States doesn't have a law like this (yet?), it might be worth noting how much attention the fashion industry is putting towards positive body image. Just recently Nike started a plus size line and has been heavily pushing inclusion of everyone. Not a bad idea IMO when you're excluding a whole segment of potential buyers, you're not maximizing marketing potential. American Eagle's underwear line Aerie has also been pretty big on displaying models without body editing.

I don't really think a law like this is necessary here in the United States but this FS article could do more to enlighten us on what type of editing is popular in France. Maybe the industry is crazy for completely unattainable standards and needs some external incentive since the market is relatively small, their local pressures might go ignored without the help of a law. That's just speculation.

Michael Holst's picture

In Nike's case they are providing athletic apparel to a wider group of people. Some of which might be looking to wear while making healthier choices. For example, being more active, working out, and or playing a sport. Nike acknowledged that you shouldn't have to be in peak physical form to benefit from the the products they sell and why would any business exclude those revenues to be enjoyed by a competitor? I think you shouldn't shame people into making good choices. Positive encouragement seems to work better.

Michael Holst's picture

You've missed the point entirely. Here is a simple breakdown so hopefully You don't miss it.

Nike makes athletic clothing.
Fat people need to be more active and and healthy to not be fat.
Nike now makes plus size athletic clothing.
Fat people can work out in fashionable performance apparel.
Nike makes more money.
Fat people get less fat.

How can you not see the good in that? Do you want fat people to stay fat so you can make fun of them or something? A company by their own decision is using their business to provide motivation to go to the gym, play a sport, or just be more active.

Wearing Nike doesn't have to just be a reward for those who are already in good shape. Providing clothing and including them into the market give's over weight people encouragement to get healthy.

How do you think we motivate our peers to make good choices? Shame or Positive Encouragement? You'd make a lovely psychologist I'm sure.

Michael Holst's picture

Peer is subjective on the context of its use.

Stating the truth and shaming are not opposites and can be done at the same time depending upon the motives of the person using what they perceive to be a truth. Using your truths to attack another could be considered a form of shaming.

Since you're very interested in definitions please look up the word shame. Intent is needed. Pointing out someones flaws, while it might be stating the truth, is shaming if you intend to make them feel bad about it.

David Justice's picture

If you want to sell internationally, you have to abide by international rules. It's probably easier for them to just make it the rules everywhere and not just France.

Michael Holst's picture

"This is all about political correctness. I'm all for realism but I think this is about unreasonably catering to the sensitivities of fat and less than attractive people, and their enablers."

While I wouldn't suggest anyone live an unhealthy lifestyle, this seems a bit insensitive and dismissive of a real issue we have with objectivity. Remember that what one person considers less than attractive is subjective.

Body dysmorphic disorder, is a real dangerous issue that is the root of the social pressures put onto the fashion industry. You might know someone who you care about dearly that struggles with their body image. Calling someone who wants to see them healthy an enabler is a poor way to look at it.

A perceived increase in anorexia prevalence and the presumed role played by advertising photoshopped or unhealthily thin women was indeed the motivation behind the law. There have been discussions about passing that law for quite a while. I think regulations also preclude advertisers from employing women under the minimal BMI that's considered to be healthy too. As for French law becoming a worldwide issue, I guess considering France's importance in the fashion industry it must make sense.
On one side it sound just crazy, on the other side, we live in a world where a big part of the fashion industry would consider Jennifer Lawrence ways too fat. The insanity has to be stopped at some point when it won't by itself.

Michael Holst's picture

I don't believe the slop is as slippery as you are making it out to seem. The French law doesn't say require anything other than disclosure of body enhancement. No one is going to be assuming that now fashion photographers and editors have to get unhealthy models to advertise their new line aimed at people within the healthy BMI range.

While I don't agree with the law's necessity, I don't think the agenda behind it is what you're leading to.

To your original post "I'm all for realism". Could it be possible that anyone would be trying to promote just that? Realism?

Michael Holst's picture

Fat people are supposed to walk around naked and unclothed? something tells me you'd be even more upset about that. I'd actually love to see how you'd react.

Ryan Cooper's picture

I imagine larger is designed to encompass editing a female model to look taller or editing a male model to look more muscular. I doubt they care if someone is edited to look more obese. (Even though the broad nature of the new law covers that as well)

Michael Holst's picture

You might want to read into the fashion industry and its history of employing extremely skinny models who risked their health by the influence of their employers, peers, and the industry, to look a certain way. You're ignoring the issue as if it doesn't exist.

Political Correctness seems to be your reoccurring theme. You're using it to make assumptions and dismiss real issues.

Michael Holst's picture

Where is there a ban?

Aaron Bratkovics's picture

Well. It makes it more difficult on both parties but a makeup artist can do a fuck ton to bodies. Photographers can also shape light like champs sooo. I feel the french will be just fine.

Eric Thomas's picture

I am French and against this law. It's like saying: you don't have the right to suicide. Because this law has been written to target young women, addicted to fashion looks or trying to become models themselves, who try to reach a body mass index lower than 17, let say 1 m 80 (5.9 feet) and only 45 kg (almost 100 pounds). A skeleton, though... OK, this is stupid but it's your life, you do what you want, what about advertising for Coca Cola, Mc Do, etc ? All of them giving you fat enough to become obese? No law? Should also be written: want to suicide by diabetes?... crystal blood circulation?... heart attack?... cerebrovascular stroke? Good, drink Coca Cola and eat Mc Do every day, you'll get it!
Keep on photoshopping what we want.

Michael Holst's picture

People who have those types of body obsessions have brain disorders and (for a lot of them) eventually cannot control it without help. It's also good to not that a lot of these people are young girls who are easily influenced by what society labels as beautiful. Girls grow up in a world where more often than not they are objectified.

I agree that the law seems a little too overreaching but not for the same reasons as you've stated.

Eric Thomas's picture

I agree. They need help. And they are under influence, but who is not under influence? Especially a social concept or simply a social model? Look at Facebook. Look at the models of supposed happiness you may watch on TV. Desperation. Writing a law for every kind of situation where someone may lose control of his freedom, independence of thought, may be influenced and change his way of life will drive us where? I am not fighting against this law precisely, I'm fighting against all those same little laws forbidding us to say that, to write this, many little laws which, step by step and all together, limit the field of our freedom for so-called good reasons. Amicalement, Michael.

Spy Black's picture

I wonder Getty also plans on posting how it plans to go about stealing images...

I'm surprised they've limited it to just bodies. Then again, this may not be about truth in advertising. If it were, they'd also target the "magic lotion" ads that use overly photoshopped skin to claim it was the effects of the product.

The law isn't confined to only women. I imagine the term "larger" used in the law is to address all the photoshopping of men to look like they are more muscular than they are.

I disagree about "ideal dimensions." Genetics play a roll in dimensions and height. One can be of the correct BMI, but not fit the "generally accepted ideal" used in modeling.

I "like" how the press release doesn't mention an explicit sex at all, but the entire write-up sprouting from it is discriminatory.

michael buehrle's picture

i'm glad they didn't write a law about old fat bald guys, i would be flucked if they did.