The web is full of gripes — justified, most of the time — about the overuse of Photoshop in advertisements today. From slimming way, way down to airbrushing skin to the point of no return, models are subjected post-photo shoot to a vast array of digital alterations before they're deemed appropriate for mass consumption.
Dove has long been an outspoken supporter of "real beauty," that is to say, models of all shapes, sizes, ages, and skin tones showing their stuff without the helping hand of the Photoshop toolbar. Now, they've taken it up a notch, and created this "unphotoshop" tool. The brand marketed it virally via Reddit as an automatic "beautify" tool that can be downloaded and used free, to mixed success. Of course, the action file really has the opposite effect — it undoes Photoshop to reveal the original image. You can see how it works in the video above.
Whether this campaign actually went as "viral" as intended is questionable. It certainly never made it near the coveted front page of Reddit. While we totally agree with the motivations behind this ad campaign (and it is, after all, an ad campaign), we also understand why some Redditors were upset. The people retouching images for big companies are, by definition, the little guy. They're probably aspiring photographers and graphic designers who are following orders and don't have the option to make a decision on how much to alter.
Of course, change can always begin with an individual, but until publications and large brands (including Unilever, which owns Dove) agree to stop airbrushing, someone will always be there to do the job and get paid for it. This isn't the first time we've seen outrage over Photoshopped images, but we're afraid that at this point it's just become standard operating procedure. That doesn't mean that we don't still hold out hope that stunts like this, alongside a passionate outcry from the public and increased sensitivity and accountability from brands and publishers, might one day put a stop to these airbrushed, unrealistic portrayals of what "beauty" is. We can dream, can't we?
Image: Via Dove.