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:

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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)