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22/05/2008 - par Mark Tungate

Who needs Photoshop, anyway ? By now you are probably aware of the recent furore in the United States surrounding Photo­shop virtuoso Pascal Dangin, who appeared to admit in an interview with The New Yorker that he'd retouched one of Dove's « real women » ads. All hell broke loose. Dove brand owner Unilever was accused of hypocrisy and real women around the world collapsed into depression. Dove and ­Dangin were forced to release a press statement saying that they'd only improved the lighting and removed a few specks of dust from the ad. The women were as real as could be.

So what ? Dangin is clearly a new breed of genius, but we don't always need Photoshop when we're advertising to women. In fact, sometimes we don't even need photographers. For proof, just go along to the new exhibition Les Parisiennes de Kiraz at the musée Carnavalet (29 rue de Sévigné, à Paris). The legendary illustrator Kiraz - who draws wonderful lithe, chic women and their inept men - has been involved in advertising for brands like Canderel, Scandale and Perrier. And the strategy is always the same : rather than showing photos of unrealistically stick-thin women, why not show the elegant cartoon versions drawn by Kiraz ? That way, everyone can buy in to the fantasy, without feeling bad about their real-life bodies. In fact, the exhibition made me wonder why there isn't more illustration in advertising. In a cold digital world, it has the warm glow of craftsmanship.

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