Former Supermodel Talks Photoshop and the Narrowing Definition of Beauty

Here’s an interesting video that offers a perspective we don’t often get on the whole “anti-Photoshop,” “what really is ‘Beauty'” debate. In this short interview, former supermodel Paulina Porizkova gives her take on an industry she left behind in the mid-nineties.

Porizkova’s main point is that our standard of beauty is narrowing to a very specific image that, sadly, doesn’t include much of what is beautiful in the world. She also makes the point that Photoshop can make anyone look beautiful in this day and age, though that’s secondary to her lament that young women are subjected to such a limited view of beauty.

What do you think? As photographers, and I assume there are a good number of portrait and fashion photographers in the audience, do you feel Porizkova is right? And do you, in your work, feel that the standard of beauty continues to narrow into a very specific, all the models look the same, sort of standard? Drop us a line in the comments.

Model: Photoshop makes anyone look good [via CNN]

  • MMielech

    Ha. I actually did some retouching on her back in the day. Very minor work needed. Gorgeous woman. If only all Polish women looked like that, I’d move back to my grandmother’s country.

  • Daz

    Photoshop can make anyone look beautiful in this day and age

    really? Is this in the new CC?

  • Tony L.

    The truth is that companies don’t want to pay $1000’s/hr for great models. But rather get a model for next to nothing and make her look like anything they want. I’ve been asked to retouch so much that the photo did not look like the real person. It’s not right, but this how companies are saving money.

  • Smarten_Up

    Actually, I think that MOST of the models I see are fairly…if not ugly, well, hard, not attractive to me (as a male), and very artificial, and it is obvious that it is artificial. I would not want to spend any time with them, never mind being “involved” with them.

    I laughed at recent article in NY Times (?) that said that the majority polled preferred the “before” look on model’s photos who were subjected to photoshopping…

    I have felt that about “models photos” of all types since I was an adolescent many decades ago…give me the natural face every time.

  • MMielech

    And they don’t pay for decent photography, either.

  • ninpou_kobanashi

    I’d disagree. As the world is getting smaller, not larger, more people are exposed to other parts of the world.

    Growing up in some of the midwestern states, I knew people that had never left their own town.

  • mamal

    Yes CC is great on making beautiful face…

  • Lloyd

    On the question what is Beauty. I’m impressed that rhevquestion is being asked in an industry that claims to be the bench mark. Poriskowa wants to broaden view. Well you can’t get it anymore broad than this; there are three levels if Beauty, beauty of nature, moral beauty and both of these find their source in Divine Beauty. Can the fashion industry countenance this I wonder?

  • Ryan

    Turned it off as soon as I saw Piers Morgan.

  • Anonymoused

    Just wanted to throw out a perspective that some others may not see: I’m of mixed race, and I look very obviously mixed. Those who are mixed, no matter how well you can fit into today’s standards of beauty for women, will still not see any models that look like them. I see beautiful black women (who for some reason, are often made up to look “exotic”) and blonde-haired, fair-skin white women plastered everywhere, but I’ll never see a 5’1″ mixed-race model with yellowish skin tones, long dark-brown hair, and large eyes.
    So, while Photoshop is always on the fore of my mind when it comes to photography & models, and as much as I hate what Photoshop does to the already awful standards of beauty for men AND women, the main villains are really the photographers who choose to shoot only these women, rather than those who spend hours on photoshop after the shoot.

  • Romy

    THANK YOU!!! Finally someone who sees right through the amazingly artificial and ‘need 6 layers of make-up and 2 hours of photoshopping to be beautiful’ fashion- and modelling industry!!! I have been almost disgusted by this phenomanon my whole life and I never understood those people’s definition of beauty, I still don’t. Where does all of this dumb and superficial kind of thinking and looking come from??! Most people around me don’t see real and pure beauty when it’s right in front of them. It’s…just so sad and incredibly pathetic! Now finally I have found someone ( and it’s a guy! :-D) who shares my opinion about the fake and cruel thing that is called the modelling business. Thank you, you have not just made my day, but you have brought back some trust, hope and optimism that had been gone for too long :-) xxx

  • ajfudge

    I photograph “real” people. Most of the time, they prefer to be “beautified”. They have their own perception of what they look like which may not resemble them at all, and that’s the result they expect. They perceive their own beauty based on their personal ideal, not acceptance. They don’t really care for the “inner beauty” thing. Result of too much beauty ads and celebrity worship, I guess.