The Deception of a Photograph

Let’s Get Real

What we see here is a woman being manipulated into someone’s version of ideal beauty. We also see the ridiculous measures it takes to achieve this so-called “ideal”. In the video following, called “Body Evolution — Model Before and After”, we are exposed to a model’s extreme transformation from the original image, to the final one used as an advertisement. Ladies, let’s get real. Rather than comparing our features with those that we see in magazines, let’s focus on what this really is, an act of deception.

Why?

This particular video caught my attention because of they way it guides viewers through the editing process. Exposing the deceptive editing techniques responsible for putting pressure on women indicates its purpose of unmasking the deception. The concluding 15 seconds of the video introduce the Global Democracy campaign that encourages mandatory disclaimers from the advertisers when manipulating bodies in advertising. At 1:03 in the video, the screen reads, “It’s up to you to vote for this proposal”. Global Democracy engaged viewers further to raise awareness of the irrational expectations of women.

This animated gif goes by quickly, but don’t worry — the full video can be found below the final paragraph.

The gif at left reveals to the audience the lengths photo editors go to in order to mutate models into what they think is visually appealing. Representing this subject as a problem shifts people’s attention from their false perception to reality, taking power away from the media’s intentions.

Who?

Although this video should spark reaction from a variety of people, it’s primarily directed toward women influenced by the media. The use of an edited female model, demonstrates that the issue has been most relevant to women. Today, media is everywhere. No matter where we go, we’re exposed to deceptive images in advertising — on TV, at the bus stop, in the waiting room at the dentist, the list goes on. With pressures like these, it is nearly impossible to avoid their influence.

By exposing the deception, this video encourages women viewers to dismiss the standard that media has held out for them. In proving that these standards are impossible to attain, their efforts promote women’s confidence, and lets them begin to be comfortable in their own, unedited skin.


The authors of the video are reaching out to their audience. Their intent is to restore self esteem of women influenced by media and enable them to accept themselves for who they are intead of comparing themselves to models in advertisements. The authors attempt to assure women of all different body types by proving that even these models can’t achieve the standards set for them.

The music in the video is calm and comforting, giving the impression that the authors are ‘coming alongside’ their viewers with the message instead of trying to seem cool/hip with driving house music like in many TV ads. This technique attracts supporters of the Global Democracy campaign because the authors have been able to build viewers’ trust. It’s less likely that viewers would develop this trust for the campaign, had the authors taken action to established authority or superiority.

How?

This timelapse video begins by showing a model enter a photoshoot and pose for the camera. It then transitions from the studio to the photograph open in photoshop. The video goes on to display all the changes made in the image to a point where the final result looks nothing like the original model; elongating her neck, legs and torso, thinning her legs, arms and torso, airbrushing her skin, and enlarging her eyes (https://youtu.be/17j5QzF3kqE?t=27s).

Once the whole editing process has been shown, the final visual on the screen is a close up of the model’s face transforming into the edited photograph (example gif shown above). Finally, 55 seconds into the video (https://youtu.be/17j5QzF3kqE?t=55s), the Global Democracy campaign is introduced, encouraging viewers to vote in favor of the use of mandatory disclaimers when manipulating bodies in advertising.


This video, “Body Evolution — Model Before and After”, is an effective way to expose the pressure the media puts on women today. The creators of this video use it to raise awareness of this issue and discourage the use of editing to tell a deceptive story. The creators reach out to their female audience and show them that it is impossible to live up to the Barbie-doll image that the media has created, fostering a new self-confidence, and a new way to see themselves.

  • Alas, the long awaited video: