brief – take an image from a popular magazine (ie: Hello Mag) and say how this sort of image effects:

1. The Audience? 2. The Subject? 3. The Photographer?

Cruise Family image from Hello Magazine Website

Cruise Family image from Hello Magazine Website

The effects of such images in modern social magazines such as Hello, Closer, etc can either be a positive or (mostly?) negative effect on the readers, photographers, agents, and the the celebrity themselves.

The Photographers are paid and encouraged to encroach on celebrity lives yet the audience and photographer would hate the same intrusion and critical judgment on their own lives. The photographers and readers of such magazines, are free to judge others.

Ironically the photographer of this particular image is part of a Photographic Library/Agency and is not credited so this person has Anonymity but his subject has none. It’s possible this photograph was staged as a PR setup – perhaps to keep the paparazzi happy and they will leave the family alone; so they are trying to keep a ‘balance’. )

Usually photographs of the celebrities children can earn them huge sums of money but state that baby photo’s of Suri were not brought as the price was not high enough).

The Readers and fans of these type of Magazines/websites tend to not see themselves as voyeurs and they don’t really see that they command power over the celebrities. Thy just use these types of magazines to forget their own problems; to create a temporary relief from their own issues. But perhaps some readers are starting to realise that they do in fact have power to aid the rise or fall of their chosen icon as mentioned in Joshua Gamson’s argument in 1994, Claims to Fame: Celebrity in Contemporary America.

There is an assumption that if someone is famous then they have no hope of privacy when in fact they became famous for a skill which entertained people, This was more so in the yearly years of movies but now things have become blurred with the creation of celebrities who are only famous for being famous. With no skill or talent involved the reader can feel that fame is in their grasp, especially when they buy the products the stars endorse; to try to echo the same drama and lifestyle of their favorite star will turn them into something special.

The Media give substance to and thus intensify narcissistic dreams of fame and glory, encourage the common man to identify himself with the stars and to hate the ‘herd’ and make it more and more difficult for him to accept the banality of everyday existence’ (Lasch, C, 1980, pg 21)

One of the negative elements of this is that readers (and the people who don’t even read these types of magazines who are in turn judged by the readers of such magazines who are over time dragged into this negative world) think they have to perform on the same level: ie: pregnant women feel the need to look like a model soon after having a child after seeing constant images of pregnant celebrities (who are in effect being paid to look good and have numerous nannies, dietricians and personal trainers) bouncing back to size 0 in the matter of days or weeks, let alone the whole issue of photoshopping and occasionally using a models body with their head superimposed on top!

Kimora Photoshops Her Head Onto A Model's Body

Kimora Photoshops Her Head Onto A Model’s Body

You can read more on Valérie Boyer, the French parliament member who proposed the law and is pushing for France and Great Britain to include disclaimers to be added to Photoshopped images at Jezebel Magazine

Jezebel article on photoshopping of women.

compliation created by Jezebel Magazine

I came across these two images from the Photoshop Disasters blog where you see more examples of horrific photoshopping!

(this is NOT Wabi Sabi! see next post link to find out what Wabi Sabi is).



Hello Magazine (2009) [internet], available from
[accessed November 2009]

'Cruise and Holmes Baby Pictures Fail to Sell' By (2006), (2009)
[internet], available from
[accessed November 2009]

'Meet Valérie Boyer: Photoshop Critic, Parliament Member, Mom'. Jezebel Magazine (2009)
[internet], available from
[accessed March 2010]


Cashmore, E (2006) Celebrity/Culture. Routledge (2006)Gamson, J (1994)

Claims to Fame: Celebrity in Contemporary America. (1994) University of California Press;
New Ed edition

Lasch, C (1980) The Culture of Narcissism, Warner Books; Warner Books ed edition (1980)