A mum has been left outraged after a photographer offered to airbrush her eight year-old daughter’s school photograph.
Journalist Sam Walker, who is originally from the UK but now lives in Phoenix, Arizona, shared a snap of the offending order form on Twitter yesterday.
The image seems to offer parents and carers the option of basic or premium retouching for both individual and class photos.
According to the form, the basic option “removes blemishes,” while the more expensive premium alternative also “whitens teeth and evens skin tone.”
“The girls have their school photo today and there is the option to AIRBRUSH the picture!,” the mum-of-two wrote on Twitter.
“There are two levels offered!! What the….?! Have complained! What 8 yr old needs to be paranoid about an ‘uneven skin tone’.”
The girls have their school photo today and there is the option to AIRBRUSH the picture! There are two levels offered!! What the....?! Have complained! What 8 yr old needs to be paranoid about an “uneven skin tone” pic.twitter.com/6BGCx3FRZ9— Sam Walker (@WalkerSam) October 28, 2019
After sharing the image to Twitter, people were quick to express their shock at the airbrush options with over 3K people leaving their views in the comments.
This is just awful and utterly unnecessary no wonder youngsters have issues about body image when adults are facilitating this— Carol Gilchrist (@CarolGilchrist) October 29, 2019
Photos tell a story. We cherish the ones which remind us of who we are/were. I have one of me at school with my jumper on the wrong way around, & one of my son with no front teeth after a seesaw incident. They are our past. Never use photos to lie, you will lose your history.— Mother of Bunnies SDP 🍌 (@Bigwig_Fiver) October 29, 2019
That is genuinely shocking ... I mean seriously. With the mental health crisis kids are facing: they don’t need this kind of message. I love the fact my kids’ school pictures are generally awful 😂. Isn’t that the whole point?— @austennerd (@austennerd) October 28, 2019
Aren't schools supposed to be setting children up to succeed? Not to give them insecurities, complexes.— Gem (@gemmlou5) October 28, 2019
Shockingly, other parents shared their own experiences of having their children’s school pictures edited.
We got my daughters school photo back when she was 6. She’d been airbrushed !! Looked like she had makeup on— Jane Attew (@jane_attew) October 28, 2019
Speaking to Metro US, Sam said her youngest daughter has a rare auto-immune condition which caused lesions to develop on her skin, and makes her teeth go yellow.
Sam and her husband are concerned the airbrushing offer could dent their daughter’s confidence that they have worked hard to build up.
“The thought of her feeling that she should airbrush those blemishes out because she should look like everyone else,” she told the publication.
“When you have a child who has some issues and so to suggest we can wipe that away you can look like everyone else is incredibly dangerous and very sad.”
After contacting the school, the couple were told it was standard practice among all photographers they hire for official photographs.
Sam’s husband also got in touch with the photographer who took the snaps who responded to say the form is a generic document used for older children too, some of whom may be self-conscious about acne.
The topic of photo-editing has been making headlines recently.
Earlier this month it was announced that Instagram is to ban face-altering filters that promote plastic surgery amid a focus on the mental health of its users.
Other brands are also taking a stand against airbrushing too. Back in 2017 shoppers praised ASOS for opting to leave stretch marks on several women modelling swimwear.
Retailer Boohoo were also applauded by customers for featuring a model wearing a swimsuit with visible stretch marks.
In June, Australian influencer, Belle Lucia, was praised for showing off the visible veins on her chest, which can be a common side effect of pregnancy.
And earlier this year Jameela Jamil celebrated a win in her fight against airbrushing when she was successful in ensuring a promotional poster remained true to life, ‘back fat’ and all.