Photographer removes ‘digital slimming’ service following outrage

University bosses have said that Success Photography are removing their ‘digital slimming’ service following an outrage from students.

In a statement, the University said that they had raised the issue with the students’ union, YUSU, who had “spoken to the photographers”. They are now “withdrawing” the service, bosses reportedly said.

(Credit: Twitter) The university issued a statement this afternoon about the ‘digital slimming’ controversy via Twitter

The company had originally defended its use of the service saying it was for “the gown” and “not the person”.

In a description, they said: “The traditional graduation gown is a mark of respect and achievement. However it can be bulky and unflattering. With advanced digital technology we can reduce the gowns appearance making it more fitting to your shape.”

But it received a barrage of criticism on social media from Twitter users who said that the additional extra, priced at £9.95, was “disgusting” and “shocking”.

(Credit: Twitter) The service sparked anger on social media, with it being branded 'disgusting' and 'shocking
(Credit: Twitter) The service sparked anger on social media, with it being branded ‘disgusting’ and ‘shocking

History and politics graduate Sophie Gadd, who originally tweeted the topic, said it “played on people’s insecurities”.

Students and members of the public have praised Success for withdrawing the service.

One wrote on Twitter: “ good move. As an alumni I’m pleased to hear it.”

Another said: “As another alumni, you guys are great.”

In a follow-up, Miss Gadd, who now works at the Daily Mirror following her graduation today, said she “is not surprised” that the service has been axed “following the furore it caused”.

Success Photography themselves are yet to comment.

The story made national headlines after Miss Gadd tweeted yesterday that she can “pay £9.95 to have my graduation pictures photoshopped to make me look thinner. :(“.

(Credit: Twitter) Sophie Gadd tweeted about the service after it was offered to her
(Credit: Twitter) Sophie Gadd tweeted about the service after it was offered to her

But Vision understands that the additional extra has been available for quite some time.

Katie Molloy, a former music student who graduated last year, said: “I graduated last year and I’m sure we were offered the digital slimming service. I had a professional photo done with success photography and I’m sure it was an option, only because my parents commented on it at the time. (not as in ‘you should get it’, but because it was an odd service).

“I’m not sure if it was available for the photo they take with the chancellor though. But definitely on the individual photographs. They just want to make sure you are happy with the way you look.”

Success are the official photographer for more than 100 universities, colleges and professional associations across the UK.

They have been in James College Dining Hall for the York class of 2014 who finished their studies last month.

The company has also been criticised for its £7.95 extra offering students the removal of imperfections such as redness.

But one graduate, Emily Mangles, who studied history and English, said while she found the ideas “silly” she thought people should be allowed to do what they wish with their graduation photos.

Sam Maguire, the YUSU President, said that Success had agreed to withdraw the product as soon as they had raised the issue with them.

In a statement, he said: “We were unaware of the Success Photography promotion regarding ‘digital slimming’ and ‘digital complexion enhancement’ for graduation photos and as soon as we became aware of this we spoke to Success Photography as we do feel that the offer and some of the promotional material could promote negative body image.

“Success have removed the offer from on campus written promotional material and are currently taking steps to amend their online programs to withdraw the offer. They agreed to take this action as soon as we raised the issue with them.”

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4 thoughts on “Photographer removes ‘digital slimming’ service following outrage

  1. Considering that YUSU make quite a bit of money from the commission on these photos you’d have thought that they might have given the service a tiny bit more scrutiny. …

    Quite an adpt way to end the Kazza/Angsty era though. Dumb, incompetant, offensive towards and out of touch with students… More than a teeny bit misogynistic and anti-what SUs should stand for.

  2. The gown I wore in my graduation picture was so huge that I looked pregnant. I’m a size 14 so I’m not the slimmest anyway, but the gown made my body look like a size 20+. I ended up scanning my picture and getting them printed in a local supermarket at extra cost with just my head and shoulders showing, so I wish this option was available when I graduated (incidentally the supermarket also offered retouching services similar to what these photographers are offering). I’m not one for advocating that everyone should be super slim, in fact far from it, but surely we all want to look our best on our big day. I had my hair done, took time over my choice of makeup and clothes for my graduation, so why shouldn’t we be offered the chance to make us look closer to what we actually are. I can understand all this fuss if the photographers were offering to make your face and body slimmer than what it is, but if all they’re doing is making the graduation gown look like it fits you, why shouldn’t we have this choice. Sounds like someone’s trying to make a story out of very little.

  3. How ridiculous. Why do people feel the need to get outraged at the smallest thing. I would happily have my pictures touched up! That photo will be shown to family and friends for years to come. There’s nothing wrong about wanting to look your best!

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