Saturday, 5 January 2013

Israel tells underweight models to gain weight or get off the runway

Not since 2006 when Italy and India banned underweight models from the catwalk, has this topic fired across the news wire. Then on Jan 4th, Yahoo News reported that in a bid to combat growing rates of eating disorders, Israel's 'photoshop law' went into the law books. The law bans unnaturally thin models from the catwalk and restricts ads that are digitally altered to make models look skinnier.

In the US and Britain however, the fashion industry does already have internal guidelines because legislative restrictions on the industry are considered an infringement on commercial freedoms. But is this a discussion on infringement of commercial freedom, or is it a discussion on unhealthy disorders like anorexia and bulimia?

As a photographer and a father of a sixteen year old daughter I am somewhat divided. I wouldn't say evenly divided mind you... I see the struggle that my sixteen (16) year old goes through as she reads magazines and bombarded by ads on the digital mediums. Those unrealistic, uber skinny models with no figure or breasts is really not the poster child of being healthy... and then on the flip side, pushing for the size 18+ sized models is not doing anyone a favour either. (Now I may get slammed for my 18+ comment... and I apologise if I offended anyone... but they are not optimal healthy either. You may eat well, but the additional weight is not healthy... and FYI, I am not a small guy either. I admit I need to lose weight as well).

There is a balance... and that's what we need to try and find. Maybe models that are shaped in such a way that they reflect the women and men walking down the street... your spouse, your parents, your kids... you know, the consumers that buy the product draped over the 14 year old sticks with legs walking down the runway...

As a photographer I see that beauty truly does come from within... and before you scoff at the comment, its not a cliche, its true, and if you have picked up a camera and put a model under the lights; the personality of anyone shines through when you make that lens to face connection.

I believe, we, as photographers need to do our part to reflect our healthy society... not churn out images of unhealthy, unobtainable images, but rather photograph healthy men and women that people can aspire to emulate... and achieve that look through healthy eating and a taking care of our bodies and mind.

I would love to hear your thoughts below...

To read the full article on Yahoo News, you can see it here...