“It’s you perfected,” says the ad for fake brand “Adobé” in Jesse Rosten’s spoof ad. The humour of Rosten’s commercial work lends itself to this Adbusters style take on “before” and “after” approaches to cosmetics ads.
He writes on his site, “I was watching TV one sleepless night and stumbled upon an infomercial for some beauty product. The commercial showed before and after portraits, that to my eye, looked like the same photo just photoshopped. I laughed to myself. Then I made this video.”
In 2011 the ongoing airbrushing debate was re-fuelled by the Julia Roberts ad for L’Oreal, but in the HD age, where images get skin deep, the airbrush debate is likely to intensify. And images of beauty are changing in any case, with ‘plus’ size models (‘curvy’) entering the visual language of the fashion industry.
Rosten highlights the questionable claims of beauty products, rather than taking a shot at airbrushing in general. But with apps such as Instagram and Hipstamatic turning us and our friends into idealised characters of the 1970s, questions about image manipulation are going to get more complicated and more interesting.