A school's photography company has withdrawn a popular retouching service after a parent complained – sparking widespread media coverage
Many people turned to BBC South Today’s Facebook page in support of Yellow School Photos, which is based in Southampton
The ‘retouching’ service, provided by Yellow School Photos, offered to soften blemishes and facial lines, acne and marks on jumpers, for example.
However, Alexandria Norman from Worthing in West Sussex complained to the firm after being offered the service when viewing her daughter’s school photo.
Norman told the BBC: ‘In the media at the moment there’s so much about retouching and airbrushing – and that’s with models and celebrities.
‘So why should a topic like that… be put to our primary school children? The photo’s not supposed to be about perfection. It’s just to capture them at that moment in time.’
Yellow School Photos, which was founded nearly 50 years ago, denied press reports that describe its service as an ‘airbrush’ option.
In a statement, the Southampton-based company said: ‘We apologise if our retouch service has caused offence to anyone.
‘The retouch option is not an airbrushing service, and is a common feature offered by many photography companies; and is a popular and helpful option to remove marks on jumpers, scratches glass[es] glare etc.
‘However, in light of the current publicity the service has been withdrawn.’
Norman said she was concerned the service is ‘planting a seed in [a child’s] mind about a topic that children shouldn’t even be thinking about.’
Many have turned to BBC South Today’s Facebook page to rally behind Yellow School Photos, among them Sharron Mellers who blasted concerns over the service as an ‘overreaction’.
Another Facebook user, Carlie Chocolat Chaytow Cohen, wrote: ‘This service isn’t targeted at children and shouldn’t be considered as such.
‘And surely if your child has managed to get food/paint down their jumper on the only day this photo is taken, you’d want to have that removed? It’s an optional service after all.’
Heather Hankers added: ‘It only retouches the ‘untidy’ parts of the photo – marks on clothing, stray hairs, scratches, that sort of thing.
‘It’s not as though they are trying to change a child’s features, or make them a supermodel.
‘For many families it is the only way they can afford a quality professional photo of their child, which is given as a present to grandparents etc at Christmas.’
Nick Grace wrote: ‘Yellow has been offering this OPTIONAL service for a couple of years at least, it features red-eye removal, tidying up a cardigan (removing spilt lunch-time bean juice etc), it can also cover up grazes, cuts, that annoying spot that appears on Photo Day. If you don’t require the service, don’t tick the box.’