France Introduces New Photoshop Warning Law

A new French law governs that publications must indicate when a picture has been edited to change the appearance of the model.

In a move to combat eating disorders, it is now mandatory for edited photos to have the label ‘Photographie retouchée’  (edited photo) alongside it.

If a publication is found to use a photo-shopped picture without clearly labelling it correctly, they could face fines of up to 37,500 euros, or 30% of what the ad cost to make.

This legislation has been a long time in the making, but the first move towards it began in May when all models working in France were required to provide a doctor’s note certifying that they were of a healthy BMI. This in turn banned the use of unhealthily thin models in France.

The former health minister in France, Marisol Touraine, said this the change is intended to avoid promoting ‘inaccessible ideals of beauty’ and in turn prevent anorexia.

The changes in the frequency we come across Photoshop editing isn’t just changing in France however. The popular stock image site, Getty Images, has introduced a ban on photo-shopped images being uploaded.

It seems there is a positive shift in the way that fashion industries are allowed to promote their labels and influence the public. However, some critics have said that merely writing a label saying something has been edited isn’t enough to combat eating disorders. Many of us know that an image will have been retouched but it still plagues our concerns anyway!

Yet, positive imagery is a move in the right direction nonetheless. People create a direct comparison with what they see before them, but if the models don’t even look like the picture, then why should we? Undoubtedly people may still see an unedited picture and still wish they looked like the models in the shot, but surely by creating such a legislation it will make some differences even if it is minimal. Even if only a few young boys and girls learn the difference between what is achievable and what is not, this could be a huge difference to their lives, so surely it’s a positive change in that sense.