In France, from 1 October, any commercial photography containing models whose body shapes have been retouched to look thinner or thicker must be labelled as retouched photography. Any photos that do not comply with the new law will be subject to a fine of at least €37 500. In 2015, France also passed a law stating that any model working in France must provide a doctor’s note confirming that the model is a healthy size and weight. Spain, Israel and Italy have similar rules. Freelance photographers, what do you think?
We are bombarded with photos containing beauty “perfection” which for the most part is unattainable. This latest law in France was initiated by France’s former health minister to try to reduce the number of cases of bulimia and anorexia in the country.
At the same time, Getty Images is banning photos of retouched models. This will be written into contracts with photographers and anyone not complying will be in breach of their contract. A Getty statement said, “Our perceptions of what is possible are often shaped by what we see: positive imagery can have direct impact on fighting stereotypes, creating tolerance, and empowering communities to feel represented in society.” The company also said they would be labelling photos already in their bank of images. However, changes to nose shape, hair colour and skin blemishes are acceptable.
Other groups who are trying to counter the image of the norm being very thin include LVMH whose companies include Dior and YSL and who will no longer hire models who are French size 34 (the infamous size zero in America) or under the age of 16. ASOS recently included models on its website with stretch marks. The company have been criticised in the past for certain practices such as labelling size 6 as large so perhaps this is the first step in the right direction.
Click here to view a statement from Getty Images