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Getty Images takes stand against photoshopped bodies in stock photos

Getty Images will no longer accept creative images depicting models whose body shapes have been retouched to make them look thinner or larger.

The stock photography site has amended its Creative Stills Submission Requirements globally to ensure that such retouched creative materials cannot be submitted from October 1 onwards.

The decision was made in tandem with a new law in France requiring clients who use commercial images in the region to disclose whether the body shape of the model has been retouched.

Getty Images VP of editorial APAC Stuart Hannagan told Mumbrella: “We scrutinise every image that’s uploaded to our site. There’s some software that we use where we can go back through the images and check if its been retouched in any way from the original file.

“The minute that’s happened we’ll go back to the photographer and explain that that image has been enhanced or touched up or Photoshopped in some way, and we do that with all our images today,” he said.

Hannagan confirmed that the changes would only take effect to newly-uploaded images to the site. “There’s a certain amount of images that will probably stay there, but we’re taking this on based on today’s announcement,” he said.

The changes are expected to mainly affect alterations to body shape, with a Getty Images email noting: “Other changes made to models like a change of hair color, nose shape, retouching of skin or blemishes, etc., are outside the scope of this new law, and are therefore still acceptable.

The Getty Images team has seen a positive shift in customer choices toward those images which show more realistic and authentic representations of women. Search term “unfiltered” has gone up 219% over the past year, “authenticity” has increased 104% and “real life” up 99%.

“People are looking for much more realistic sets of images and pictures from us. Our customers and clients are telling us that they want everything to be a lot more real to life, that’s the industry we’re in these days,” added Hannagan.

Three years ago, Getty Images launched the Lean In Collection, which according to Hannagan was “a collection intended to create really authentic images of women, and communities who support them.”

“[Diversity] has been depicted pretty poorly over the past 10 or 20 years on the stock photography side, so I’m pretty proud of the company to take this stance and go down this path,” he added.

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