Photography firm's ‘digital slimming’ of university graduation pictures outrages students

The company’s website says that for an extra £9.95 clients can be 'reduced' electronically

A photography firm was condemned tonight after it emerged it was offering a “digital slimming” service designed to make students look thinner in graduation pictures.

Success Photography lists graduates of some of the UK’s top universities among its clients, including the University of York and the London School of Economics.

Student union representatives spoke of their concern that the service could “promote negative body image”, while former and current students described it variously as “utterly disgusting”, “sad” and “gross, gross, gross”.

The company’s website says that for an extra £9.95 clients are able to have their apparent size reduced electronically, perhaps diplomatically blaming this on the gown.

“The traditional graduation gown is a mark of respect and achievement. However it can be bulky and unflattering,” the company’s website says. “With advanced digital technology we can reduce the gown’s appearance making it more fitting to your shape.”

Other services include “digital complexion enhancement” and “smile enhancement” for £7.95.

A former University of York student, with the Twitter name of @aimsetc, wrote on Twitter: “Utterly disgusting that @UniOfYork’s graduation photographer offers ‘digital slimming’ of graduation pictures'."

A student called Aurie wrote: “‘Digital slimming’ & ‘smile enhancement’ in graduation photos. A sad snapshot of society and why many people have such low self-esteem.”

Today it appeared that the company may have dropped the service after York University and its students union, YUSU, expressed concern.

Sam Maguire, YUSU president, said: “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 programmes to withdraw the offer. They agreed to take this action as soon as we raised the issue with them.”

A spokesman for the university confirmed Success Photography had taken pictures at graduations “for a number of years”, but added they had “no knowledge of the specific services they offer”. “We will look into this matter in more detail in conjunction with YUSU as soon as possible,” they said.

Success Photography, based in Surrey, referred requests for comment to their Twitter page. “‘Digital slimming’ refers to reducing the appearance of the gown only, never the individual,” it said.

READ MORE: Instagram accused of size discrimination after suspending account of US teenager who ‘didn’t fit their idea of normal’
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