Why Don’t Beauty Ads Reflect Real People?

An excerpt from the beauty and fashion photography satire SPOOF.

An excerpt from the beauty and fashion photography satire SPOOF. Photo: Daniel Schweizer.

A lot of the time, it feels like beauty advertisements are made by beautiful women for average women, as if an average woman can be nothing but a consumer. French stylist and photographer Nathalie Croquet recently put herself in front of a camera to spoof 11 advertisements from high-end beauty companies from Givenchy to Lancôme. The results are funny, honest, and ask good questions about which the beauty industry is really for.

The series of images, dubbed “SPOOF,” was designed and shot by photographer Daniel Schweizer, reports The Huffington Post. The collection is currently on display at a Paris exhibition, but one quick search of the internet will yield them all, and the voices surrounding the images all seem in sync: why don’t pictures of models on glossy magazine covers look anything like real people? As we well know, with the added layers of Photoshop, often even the models don’t look like themselves.

But because Croquet’s photos achieve such a striking similarity to their inspirations and with very little or no Photoshop, youth and perfection are rendered inconsequential to the beauty in the ads. “Advertising images erase every detail of the skin” and “all imperfections,” Croquet says. Her ads aren’t afraid of showing the truth of Croquet’s own beauty, accessible and real, and a much closer reflection to the faces that actually read beauty magazines and purchase the products.

The images Croquet and Schweizer chose to replicate are iconic to the industry, featuring Kate Moss and Penelope Cruz. “The positions and situations were amusing,” she said, and it’s true: trying to imagine a situation in which the picture for Acne Studios, an eyes-closed model with a metal ring around her neck, proves a difficult endeavor.

Though Croquet’s collection is a “spoof” of the industry, the pictures do point to the striking dissimilarity between those in the industry and those who consume it from the outside. The series points out some of the silliness present in beauty advertisements, but they also show that ordinary people can be extraordinary. If women start to see models in advertisements that look like they do, the beauty industry might actually do—and be—better.

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