The issue of photo manipulation isn’t a new one, but it has recently gained some real traction. A French law passed in 2015 has finally been implemented, and is creating a ripple effect amongst media distributors. In effort to promote body positivity and stray from the overexposure of unhealthy and unattainable body image ideals, the French government now requires photographers and distributors to clearly flag photos that have been photoshopped or altered in any way.
While they could have stopped there, France proved how serious they are by requiring all models to provide a doctor’s note that clearly indicates that they are in good health, paying special attention to their BMI – banning models who fail to uphold a healthy body mass index. According to an article by Independent, anyone who fails to abide by the new mandate could face a fine of €37,500 ($44,100), or 30% of the cost of the advertisement.
Getty Images is also taking strides. Following the French law, the company banned photo submissions in which the shape and/or size of a model’s body has been altered, or if they have failed to require a doctor’s note that ensured the model was in good health. If you thought the punishment was tough before, Getty Images is fining agencies who don’t abide by their regulations a whopping $75,000. This requirement is also enforced for iStock submissions, a branch of Getty Images.
While we are beginning to see companies take a stand against photo manipulation (shout out to Aerie and Dove!), there is still a long way to go before we see widespread embracement of all bodies in the media and advertising sector. Hopefully these new regulations will set the pace for society.