It’s the image database’s second move to make stock photography more inclusive in almost as many months
Following the decision to diversify its stock imagery in June, Getty Images has announced a ban on photos of retouched bodies. The change will be written into the contract of any photographer contributing work to the database from 1 October. Over email, a representative for the image database told Dazed that, “A photographer who does not comply with our submissions requirement would be in breach of its contract with us.”
Retouching has long been a bone of contention within the photography world and with the introduction of apps that allow the everyday person to edit their own images, the danger of us wading into an even more unrealistic society than we already exist in, is growing ever-present. Acknowledging its responsibility to ensure accurate and authentic visual representation, the representative discussed the knock-on effect of being bombarded with airbrushed images – often without the viewer’s knowledge that they’ve been altered in any way. “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,” they said, adding that over the last several years, Getty has made steps to “change the way women and other marginalised communities are represented in media and advertising.”
“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” – Getty Images
Alongside June’s diversity campaign with Campbell Addy and his own Nii Agency, whereby Getty added 42 new images titled “Portrait of young person holding ambiguous gaze” into its database in an attempt to challenge a white-dominated spectrum, it will now turn its focus on realist representations of the female form. The representative said, “For many years now our visual anthropologists have been tracking the evolving representation of women in imagery and (have) seen a positive shift in customer choices (fuelled by consumer demand) toward those images which show more realistic and authentic representations of women. In fact, we’ve seen a trend towards stepping away from the hyper-airbrushed, perfect images of the past and a growing demand for intersectional realism. The search term ‘unfiltered’ has gone up +219 per cent over the past year, ‘authenticity’ has increased 104 per cent and ‘real life’ up 99 per cent. Our data and research tell us that the trend toward authentic representation in commercial imagery will only continue to build momentum.”
The ban coincides with Paris Fashion Week and France’s newly introduced law regarding altered imagery. As of October 1 – the same day as Getty’s own ban – Article L2133-2 of the Public Health Code in France will require that commercial images where a model’s body shape or contour has been altered to appear thinner or larger must be accompanied by a “retouched photography” disclaimer.