Korean Photoshop Disaster #4: NOBODY’S Perfect!

Probably both a driving force and reflection of the increasing amount of male objectification in the Korean media since last year, then you may have noticed that female authors and commenters on K-pop blogs have become increasingly vocal in their admiration of male celebrities’ bodies these days. And with the provisos that such objectification can be problematic, and more of one sex by no means nullifying the negative effects of that of another, then all power to them, but it does increasingly tempt me to indulge myself a little too!

Hence I was considering presenting some pictures for Lee Hyori’s (이효리) recent photoshoot for Elle Korea here earlier today, but paused when I thought about how to describe her in them: after all, heaven forbid that a male blogger shift from simply using banalities like “she is sexy” when expressing admiration for a woman’s body, to discussing her body parts in the same manner that female bloggers now can and do of a man’s. Or is that just me?

Either way, the sky didn’t fall in the last time I posted a picture of a woman simply because I liked it, and so ultimately I probably would have done so this time too. Well before getting to that stage however, I happened to quickly click between the picture from Elle Korea itself above and that from MSN Korea below, and something much more interesting literally jumped out at me:

In case you’ve missed it, this GIF I’ve created shows how that switch looked:

Yes, not only did MSN Korea feel the need to enlarge her breasts, apparently they also thought that she was too fat too. Anybody else find the change simply more patronizing than sexy however?

Either way, it certainly makes yesterday’s video on Korean women’s perceived need for cosmetic surgery and weight reduction all the more poignant!

(For all posts in the Korean Photoshop Disasters series, see here)


Korean Photoshop Disaster #3: Park Tae-hwan’s Babyface

( Source: High Cut )

Granted, it’s not the most egregious case of a Korean athlete’s face being photoshopped. That dubious honor still remains firmly in the hands of Gillette Korea, whose choice of pockmarked Manchester United footballer Park Ji-sung (박지성) to endorse them last year is probably also the most glaring example of the over-reliance on celebrities in Korean advertising too.

Unlike him though, youthful Olympic medalist Park Tae-hwan (박태환) already has unblemished and unusually smooth skin, which raises the question of what the photoshopping was for exactly?

Personally, it reminds me of the airbrushing of Milla Jovovich’s face in Resident Evil: Extinction (2007), which many viewers found unnecessary, confusing and/or distracting. Indeed, while I’ll be the first to admit that Tae-hwan has a great body (more of which you can see in the last post), and with the proviso that I’m a (jealous) heterosexual male, I’d say that in the second picture in the series his now somewhat seal-like face simply draws too much attention away from his abs…

Can anyone think of similar examples, particularly Korean ones? Please pass them on!

(For all posts in the Korean Photoshop Disasters series, see here)


Korean Photoshop Disaster #2: Somewhat Less than a Woman (Updated)

Yun In-yeong Yongpyong Peak Island Advertisement Photoshop

Photoshopped advertisements are a pervasive feature of modern life of course, but it’s surprisingly rare to find their originals online (or at least close equivalents). Perhaps that’s all the better to hide advertisers’ mistakes though, as a single glance reveals that Yu In-yeong (유인영) looks much more appealing unaltered than in the advertisement on the left. A “disaster” in the sense that YongPyong Resort’s advertising budget might have been better spent then?

To be fair, the advertisement may have looked more rather better in August the 5th’s MetroSeoul itself: strangely, its website only provides rather garishly-colored versions of what goes in the print editions. And although In-yeong’s elongated neck is what first drew my attention to the advertisement’s photoshopping in the first place, it turns out that its rather long in real life too. But naturally I soon noticed her rather sculpted-looking breasts also, followed by her over-defined face, her thin right arm, and finally the absence of her navel. It took the photo above-right though, for me to realize what had been done to her waist.

Granted, she’s in a slightly different stance in the photo, and her finger resting in her shorts makes a big difference to its greater appeal (people tend to subconsciously point to what’s on their minds, which is why models tend to pose with their hands on their waists {source, right}). But this begs the question of if the photoshopping in the advertisement was really necessary in the first place, as I seriously doubt that many busy commuters would have had either the time or the inclination to have paid much attention to the space between her breasts and her crotch. This may well explain why that area is covered by text in the advertisement then, but in the process of also removing the “kinks” on her side, the advertisers went overboard and removed all definition from her front too, which for all the exaggeration of her breasts, ironically leaves the rest of In-yeong’s body looking somewhat like a cardboard cutout. Contrast this to her more curvaceous figure in the photo, which the unlike the advertisement prompts many second (and third, and fourth…) glances by heterosexual men.

(As a side issue, some time in the near future it will be interesting – and yes certainly, also rather pleasant – to investigate the ways in which swimming resorts and so on are advertised in Korea. As one might expect, the vast majority use women’s bodies to do so, but I vaguely recall that at least one commercial this summer featured buff men and women mutually checking out each other’s bodies, and I’d be grateful if readers could pass on the name of the resort if they know. Regardless though, in hindsight that this should be exceptional is really rather strange given that half of the customers at resorts would be female, and besides which I seriously doubt that they are quite the “meat markets” that they’re portrayed as considering their popularity with children and families)

Unfortunately the logic behind those excessive changes made in the advertisement is likely to remain a mystery, but personally I would perhaps have chosen to move the text up and right a little, killing two birds with one stone (I’m not so naive as to pretend that some people wouldn’t be put off by the kinks). I accept that that may have necessitated big design changes though.

Faith Hill Redbook Cover July 2007 Photoshop( Source: Hany Farid )

In the meantime, for anyone further interested in the subject then I recommend here for more on the photoshopping done on magazine covers, here and here for a guide to the differences between the original image of Faith Hill and the July 2007 cover of Redbook above, and finally here for a potted guide to many famous historical cases of photo manipulation.

Update, September 10: Following up on my plans to research the ways in which swimming resorts are advertised, Commenter Zhi Zhi drew my attention to the following commercial for California Beach, part of GyeongjuWorld. Note the last few seconds especially:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Such commercials are par for the course in Japan of course, but lest that give any overseas-based readers the wrong impression, I should point out that it’s probably the most blatant case of sexual objectification I’ve ever seen in a Korean commercial. One small redeeming factor it has though, is that it also features men literally performing for a female sexual gaze (although of course objectification of men is also problematic), but unfortunately that is not quite the message one gets by visiting California Beach’s website:

Swimming Resort Sexualized Advertisement California Beach

(For more posts in the “Korean Photoshop Disasters” series, see here)


Korean Photoshop Disaster #1: Magic Hole

MagicHole Advertisiement UEE Lee Min-ho Kim Hyun Joong

Naturally, the unfortunate name of Anycall’s new phone has already led to a great deal of speculation as to what was meant by it exactly. But as a one-time astronomy major, and considering how stretched and warped poor UEE, Lee Min-ho, and Kim Hyun-joong’s bodies are respectively, then it behooves me to suggest that perhaps “black hole” would have been more appropriate…

Apologies for the poor quality of the above photo, taken while crouched in front of my local phone store earlier this (overcast) afternoon. But it’s probably no coincidence that I haven’t been able to find the full-length version of the advertisement online, even at the MagicHole website (IE required):


Hat tip to the Photoshop Disasters blog for the inspiration for this rather belated series, and see #19 here, here, here, the “X-line” here, and here for some recent examples on the blog, with many more to come!

If you reside in South Korea, you can donate via wire transfer: Turnbull James Edward (Kookmin Bank/국민은행, 563401-01-214324)