Unreal Beauty

The models in Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign (whose tagline was "we believe real beauty comes in many shapes, sizes and ages") may have benefitted from some "digital plastic surgery." From The Telegraph:

Pascal Dangin, a celebrated retoucher of fashion pictures, claimed the Dove women were far from au naturel. In an interview with New Yorker magazine, Mr Dangin, who runs Box Studios in New York, a company which retouches photographs and does regular work for Vogue, and the fashion companies Dior and Balenciaga, said that he had manipulated the photographs heavily. When asked about the four-year-old campaign, he said: "Do you know how much retouching was on that? But it was great to do, a challenge, to keep everyone’s skin and faces showing the mileage but not looking unattractive."

Dove's ad agency is denying it, insisting that they have no record of Dangin working on that campaign.

Advertising Body Manipulation

Posted on Mon May 12, 2008


is it just me or does is one of them a guy?
Posted by Silvar  in  Philipines  on  Mon May 12, 2008  at  01:58 AM
I recall reading just yesterday that Dangin himself has... er... modified his story and now says he made merely incidental changes to the photograph.
Posted by The Barefoot Bum  in  San Francisco  on  Mon May 12, 2008  at  06:14 AM
On a somewhat off topic note, I get so sick of the "women with curves are real women!" tagline. Yes, they're real woman. Great. Skinny women aren't fake women, though. Starving yourself in the name of beauty isn't something good to do, but some people are naturally skinny or just watch what they eat and pick nutritious meals. Does that make them fake? It's great that people feel good about their images, but it seems like these "real women" are trying to feel good about their image by making other people feel bad.
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Mon May 12, 2008  at  05:57 PM
'Scuse me for voicing what I am SURE is an unpopular take on the world of professional modeling: It's ALL a fake, plastic, untouchable world for the majority of society... These "people" are ALL so full of themselves, there ain't NO room for the average person to fit in to it!!! Whether these BIMBO'S photo shoots were touched, re-touched, or re-re-touched isn't the issue and doesnt really matter... I'd want nothing to do with ANY of them anyhow!!! They're all a bunch of phonies... I'd rather take my chances and associate with a real person...
Posted by Christopher  in  Warm, sunny Florida!!!  on  Mon May 12, 2008  at  06:39 PM
Christopher - the point of the Dove ads are that those ARE real women and not models.

There'a a diet book that used to be hugely popular in the UK - Rosemary Conley's Hip and Thigh diet, with a picture of her looking very slim on the cover. I was dating a photographer at the time, and he showed me exactly how the photo had been retouched to make her look slimmer than she actually was - and looking at other diet books and videos, I could see the same thing. So even those people who claim to have lost pounds on diets have had to be retouched!
Posted by Nona  on  Tue May 13, 2008  at  05:30 AM
Whether or not they were retouched...they still have enough flaws to look "normal". And I think that is the point of the ads.

On another note - Sakano...get over yourself. People are naturally many shapes. Even people who eat nutritious meals can have big thighs or a round rear.
Posted by Maegan  in  Tampa, FL - USA  on  Tue May 13, 2008  at  09:22 AM
And that's fine, Maegan. You seem to miss the point of my post. I'm saying that it's okay to look however you look. Some people ARE naturally skinny. So I don't understand why these women are considered to be "real" women, but women who are skinny..aren't? It makes no sense.

My point is that it's great to be proud of how you look. But when being proud of how you look includes putting down other people (whether it's a skinny woman calling a fat woman a cow, or a fat woman calling a skinny woman anorexic or "fake") then that's not a good thing.
Posted by Sakano  in  Ohio  on  Tue May 13, 2008  at  09:27 AM
Sadako, the point of Dove commercials is to show that people are beautiful in their normal natural form. And yes some people are skinny by nature, but most women aren't and they 'suffer' from an unrealistic fashion-ideal where women HAVE to be skinny to be pretty, and *that's* what Dove is trying to fight.
Dove isn't trying to say "you're not a real woman if you're skinny",
but rather "You don't need to look like a skinny photoshopped super-model in order to be pretty"
Posted by Snowowl  in  Netherlands  on  Tue May 13, 2008  at  09:41 AM
I, for one, am thankful that Dove doesn't have a real "beauty" campaign with men in the ads. Back hair, beer bellies, manboobs. Need I say more?
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Tue May 13, 2008  at  12:27 PM
Hairy, you're sniping away at my one chance to be a successful model.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Friendswood, Texas  on  Tue May 13, 2008  at  01:13 PM
Christopher - the point of the Dove ads are that those ARE real women and not models.

Once they appear in an ad campaign in their underwear, whether male or female, they are considered models... All Dove has done was enforce the ol' saying, "beauty is in the eye of the beholder", 'cept NOW these "ordinary women" have been destroyed by a FAT HEAD as well!!!

My point was/is, once these wome were dubbed as "models", they're no lomger "real". They instantly fall into the same category as the rest of the plastic media. They're NO different than any of the rest of the phony BIMBO'S in the business, 'cept for their average looks !!!
Posted by Christopher  in  Warm, sunny Florida!!!  on  Wed May 14, 2008  at  04:14 AM
So, Christopher - what you're saying is, that once a woman, no matter how looks, or how intelligent she is, is photographed by a professional, she instantly loses all her intelligence and charm and becomes a de facto model, whether that is her career or not, whether she is paid or not? So you'd never date a women who'd been photographed in any sort of professional sense, ever?

Wow, aren't cameras magic, sucking a woman's brain out like that!
Posted by Nona  on  Wed May 14, 2008  at  05:14 AM
Apparently so. No one has a problem with calling the regular, run of the mill skinny models bimbos and idiots, right? Perhaps they're intelligent and charming as well? But no, its better to just assume they're stupid bimbos. In fact, this all can be summed up in an "if than" statement: If you have a little meat on your bones and you're not a professional model, than you have superior intelligence.

Posted by Diranch  in  Topeka, Kansas  on  Wed May 14, 2008  at  07:19 AM
Sadako, the point of Dove commercials is to show that people are beautiful in their normal natural form.

No it isn't. The point of Dove commercials is to sell Dove products. Let's not get carried aweay eh?
Posted by outeast  on  Wed May 14, 2008  at  07:31 AM
What I'm hearing is that Dove is denying that Dangin worked on photoshopping the models, not that the models weren't photoshopped. Is that correct?
Posted by luci  on  Wed May 14, 2008  at  10:18 AM
Outeast - ok, in the end that's the purpose of all commercials wink you're right.
But they're still trying to send out that message, even if it isn't their main goal raspberry
Posted by Snowowl  in  Netherlands  on  Wed May 14, 2008  at  05:42 PM
Be sure to see the feature on Pascal Dangin in the current issue of The New Yorker.

Dangin has a shop called Box Studios where 80 people work full-time digitally prettying up photos. Lots of professional photographers have him on retainer.

The article also implies that practically every picture in in many popular magazines (e.g. Vogue, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan) has been digiatlly buffed.
Posted by Big Gary  in  Medicine Mounds, Texas  on  Fri May 16, 2008  at  10:16 AM
"Wow, aren't cameras magic, sucking a woman's brain out like that!"
Posted by Nona on Wed May 14, 2008 at 03:14 AM

Those were your words, NOT MINE (but I like what you had to say in THIS statement). However, it's not the camera that "sucks the brains out of a woman", it's the ARROGANCE of these women once they BECOME a model!!! I've had a hard time putting my finger on the 'magic' of this transformation, but I think you did a mighty fine job of describing it yourself, THANX...
Posted by Christopher  in  Warm, sunny Florida!!!  on  Fri May 16, 2008  at  02:30 PM
. . . and CHRISTOPHER'S for using CAPS every OTHER WORD!!!

Posted by tess  on  Sat May 17, 2008  at  11:31 PM
Okay, not really what I intended, cutting the response short like that.

Though I do find it a bit iffy to assume that he knows the models from the Dove ads to say that they're arrogant as soon as they've gone into a photo shoot. Unless he knows them personally, it's presumptuous, hypocritical, and somehow ironic for him to go off and start making proclamations about their characters.

I will say this about the ads -- I'm not the least bit surprised. Dove was in all likelihood attempting to recapture attention and part of the market that was already confident enough to stop caring about being a bit rounder than the average supermodel, though without the dimples and pudge. As snowowl pointed out, they aren't proclaiming that skinny people aren't beautiful, but rather than if you're not skinny, don't sweat about it so much and buy some lotion and soap.
Posted by tess  on  Sat May 17, 2008  at  11:41 PM
Christopher. You're kind of arrogant yourself. have you met any of these women in the Dove campaign?

The fact that the photos were retouched is to be expected. Virtually every photo is retouched in an ad campaign whether it's of a piece of fruit, a car or of people.
Posted by Janus  on  Sun Jun 22, 2008  at  03:16 PM
have your beauty and enjoy it anytime
Posted by svisnu  in  asia  on  Sat Aug 07, 2010  at  05:54 AM
all some ugly, even the average score would not give
Posted by lilitse  in  usa  on  Sun Oct 17, 2010  at  02:37 PM
Getting back to reality here. All the women in this commercial either went to a casting, or had their photos sent by their agent, or found the casting notice themselves and submitted photos based on the criteria.
They were then put into a shortlist pile based on whether or not they matched the prodcos and directors and branding requirements, which would include a specified distribution of ethnicities and sizes and looks.
This is all so heavilly vetted and screened and selected even before it ever reaches the Photoshop stage anyway.

There is about as much 'reality' in this ad as there is in a Big Brother conversation between a bunch of ex-actors with careers on the wane.
Posted by Simon  in  UK  on  Fri Apr 06, 2012  at  03:43 PM
Well, I think that anyone who agree in being photographed and "photoshoped" for any add campaign, no matter which add is it or from whom, they know that they will be used as a fake image that will fool millions of people all over the world. Creating a false image of beauty that only computers can create.
I dont think that Dove or any company care about how you feel... they care about how much they will sell... So, no one can convince me that Dove was trying to be kind, or trying to take away the mystic concept that only famous models are beautiful. Dove in the past and in the future will be making use of them also... it was just a period in their add's.

Another last thing to say is that: You should be happy about how you look, no matter what... if its not being bad for your health, just be happy... its not about beauty, its about health... dont care about fashion magazines, models, etc... its all photoshop anyway... this companies cannot live without this kind of softwares anymore, because in their minds: There is no woman beautiful enough to be a model without retouch... =)
Posted by Alex  in  Japan  on  Wed Jun 06, 2012  at  04:17 PM
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