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In defence of airbrushed posters

Posted on 9 January 2010 | 4:01pm

What on earth is the fuss about? So David Cameron’s picture has been airbrushed so that the forehead looks baby-bottom smooth as drivers look away from the snowy roads to see DC looking down from poster sites around Britain.

As I have explained in a little video just uploaded on Youtube, there is a tradition of airbrushing photos on posters that goes beyond just doing it to models. Indeed, I have to say that the airbrushed poster I have talked about is one of my favourite posters of all time. And I hope when you see it you will agree that just as it fitted a central message for the 2001 campaign, it kind of works for now as well.

What an odd week. The Tories have a great big campaign launch, all bells and whistles and airbrushed babybottoms, which goes a bit kaput because of Dave’s ignorance about his own marriage tax policy, GB splatters him at PMQs, then the Hoon-Hewitt letter and the subsequent kerfuffle rather detracts from all that.

Meanwhile the weather ruins a week in which I had been looking forward more and more with each day to Burnley v Stoke, after the appalling decision of Owen Coyle to walk away from the club that gave him the chance of top level football management. With the game off, I have a bit of time on my hands. Hence the vid. Hope you enjoy being reminded of the poster or, if you never saw it at the time, seeing it again.

  • Paul Hurst

    Please tell me that no-one has ever been airbrushing Prezza! On a more serious note, what does it tell us about our society when people are more concerned about how our politicians look rather than what they are actually saying?

  • Charlie Hall

    Owen Coyle is an Odious C*** with a capital O and a capital C. He is now trying to take the whole of the top training team as well. He can stick his Catholic teetotal sanctimonious moralising about loyalty and commitment up his tight A***. Thank you. Here’s to us surviving and his wanky Wanderers going down

  • Graham Gee

    Loved that poster. Remember it well. Make people laugh and you go a long way. Cameron’s airbrush just looks poncy

  • John Harper

    Brillsville. Cheered me up on a day I couldn’t get to Sunderland

  • Wyrdtimes

    I’m no fan of Cameron and I’m not saying this in his defence but for balance.

    Like you say, there’s a lot of airbrushing photos about. It’s akin to wearing make-up before a television interview. Trivia.

    So. Airbrushing is one thing. But Mr Brown’s cosmetic indulgence go far further. He’s has actually had “work” done. He’s had a false set of perfectly formed, pearly white, Holywood style teeth stuck onto his broken gnashers.

    They must have cost a pretty penny too, did he go private for the work? I wonder.

    Sadly for Mr Brown all the money in the world couldn’t make his smile look genuine.

    Presumably they’ll be sticking some fake nails onto his gnawed fingertips? That’s if he intends to leave the bunker long enough to do some campaigning in the real world.

  • Robert Jackson

    The picture of Dorian Grey got older to keep the vain egotistical dandy looking young.

    Can’t the Tories get anything right? It’s not the piccie that’s supposed to get younger – it’s the man himself!

  • Patrick James

    It’s a great YouTube vid.

    The term “airbrushing” is always being used for this, which reveals the average age of political commentators. Many younger people (I’m not one but I’ve done a survey) don’t know what airbrushing is.

    The phrase today is “photoshopping”.

    This is in fact even more evocative of fakery amongst the younger crowd (anyone < 40). When people put up a pic on the 'net showing some unlikely scene they have captured on camera the first allegation is that the pic has been "photoshopped!", meaning, it is a fake of course, constructed in Adobe's Photoshop application. The pic of David Cameron on that poster has been photoshopped. That is obvious, that is what we should be saying. I hope that the image people don't succeed if they are trying to make Gordon Brown visually attractive. The thing which Brown has is very much more important, and that is that he is genuine. Please don't lose that! I think for the general election genuine wins over fake good looks. This may not show itself until closer to the election itself but I think it will. Also I think that there is a good narrative (I'm starting to write like AC) in the unprepossessing-but-honest winning over the good-looking-but-fake.

  • Charlie Reynolds

    Darling has finally come out and (almost) told the truth today. If Labour win they will bring in the worst public spending cuts for 20 years (more like 70!). Even he was saying (in December) that spending department budgets would remain flat! Was he lying then? Yes.

    Labour investment vs Tory cuts was all a load of Brown’s Balls. It was a lie. Simples. It was obvious to anyone that Labour were going to have to make massive cuts. I have been amazed as the lie has been told repeatedly and Brown’s reputation has disintegrated.

    How is Brown going to explain this one? Will it be like the disgraceful 10p tax denials or the I love Darling really denials?

    How can I be expected to trust Brown/Darling/Balls to do what is right for Britain? It’s just not possible. They have sunk to new lows for british politics (and that’s sayin summat).

    As for Thatcher – if you really loathe her so much why have Tony and Gordon invited her to No.10 so often? Why have your policies been built on hers? The noughties were the ultimate decade of greed and selfishness – making the 80s seem like a poor imitation. Why has Peter Mandelson expressed views on getting filthy rich which are to the right of cameron’s Tory party (even yesterday again)?

    Is it only me who thinks there is something wrong about Mandelson being asked ‘an apple a day’ and then saying to camera ‘keeps the PM in place’. New Labour are like a cancer at the heart of british politics and the sooner you are removed the better.

    So today you write an article on airbrushing photos in ad campaigns. Isn’t that normal? You have such substance. Such wit. With you back in the squad no wonder Brown’s life has got so much better. Why don’t you go public about it – surely you know how much the public love you?

  • BarBar of Oz

    Is there any way Peter Watts book can be photoshopped before it hits Amazon?

  • Frugal Dougal

    that’s not the sort of airbrushing that worries me; what I’m afraid of is that inconvenient truths will be airbrushed out of the public arena as happened with Stalin, whom Brown resembles more each day.

  • John

    The Tories campaign is heavily image and personality accented. Dave is the medium and the message and this high wire performance presents many opportunities for attack. (Media willng !)

    Its time Labour stopped defending and mounted the attack to destroy the confidence trickers image. The two prongs should be his false posing and his many wobbles. These have not been exploited. Come on Heve Stilton is damaged
    lets get on with it !

    The false posing has included ‘The Biker’and’The Green Turbiner.’ But several recent unexploited events included:
    1. Rushing to be photographed before the Rememberance sevice.(Rediculous Tory counterclaim as Gordon has state/presidential role.
    2. Photos with Afghanistan troops. Dave in shirstleeve order. Original photos cropped down to eliminate fringe laughing soldiers – ‘with or at ?’
    3. Film footage holding baby at recent hospital visit – dropped I suspect not because it was cheesey but he was not ‘seen’ applying required hand disinfectant !!

    Now Dodgem Daves wobbles are too numerous to enumerate but lets remember the most ‘unnexploted’ recent:

    1.His Grand ole Duke of York EU Referendum about turn.
    2.His flirting with Bonds ResPublica – oh yes an association with a ‘Red Tory.’ He got cold feet as more was expected when he attended the launch, only to do a Nuremburg march to the podium, appologise that he had to go and fled ! Such boldness but perception might pull in a few more votes.
    3. Last weeks disaterous ‘marriage’ policy volte face.

    There used to be a word that the Tories used a lot in their desperate wilderness years. That was ”seem” We must seem more to be involved in… to care more for.. etc

    Thats what you have got with these chancers now – I am thinking of offering prizes for anyone catching them using ”seem” now.

    If Labour are not to lose this election on a Nixons sweat basis they need to get a bit more like their public school
    name calling bullying opponents.

  • John

    Time to counter the Tories ‘Big Brother’ cult of the personality with a projection of Gordons essential John Smith image (reality) of solid dependability. Johns ‘image’ brought many into the Labour fold.

    If Cameron wobbles, with no admin/portfolio load what the heck will he do under real pressure. He admitted to a quasi loss of concentration in the ‘marriage’ firago…..and this hand will be on the Nucleur red button !

    The Tories this morning (0900 BBC News) of Gordon …”He accepts advice , but changes his mind within an hour.”So here we go again they cover Dodgers wobbling by spiking Gordon with a similar accustaion.

  • John

    On the Andie show am Call me Dave committed a humdinger visualy which had he had a minder half as proficient as AC would not have hsppened.

    As its before the witching hour I will try to describe his antics (handtricks) as discreetly as possible.

    DC was in half-shot – top-half showing down to his waist level. He was trying to be very definite to camera emphasising his points with bold vertical fist movements.
    Unfortunately his hand kept going off-shot focusing ones attention on this up and down movement.

    I began to feel very uncomfortable and Andie looked a bit pink – could he be implying that we are w**kers out here which I could understand Heve Stilton might suggest.(Bet he wishes he too had stuck to sign language !)

    Now AC would have pointed out who the real w**nker was !