Graduation photographer offers students ‘facial slimming’

A photography company is being criticised by students for its inclusion of certain photo editing options on graduation photographs. 

Photography by Greg Synnott

Lafayette Photography, which is the official photographer for a number of colleges in Ireland, offers a selection of enhancement options to students when ordering their prints online.

The options range from €10 for teeth whitening, to €30 for edits such as removing braces, and even removing a person.

While most of the options have escaped students’ mention, the option that offers facial slimming for €30 has received some negative feedback, with students calling it ‘appalling’ and ‘a step too far’.

A spokesperson for Lafayette Photography said it does not offer the service through the college, but instead the students must request it specifically.

However, students using the service reported that this is not the case. According to the graduates, the options are offered on a webpage which has to be manually skipped before a student can make a payment for their photographs.

The spokesperson suggested that students would mostly choose the options if they are suffering from some sort of illness, such as psoriasis, on the day the photo is taken, but “it’s not a common thing that they would ask for”.

Vice President for Welfare in DIT, Femi Bankole, said that including the option where it did was “preying on the insecurities of graduates”. However, he also stated that on a personal level it was a touchy issue. “If someone wants to edit their picture to make themselves look a bit different I’m guessing that’s their decision”.

A DIT student, who requested to remain unnamed, stated that the service was not the issue so much as the way it was advertised,

“As a 22 year old female student I would hope that institutes across the country would not advertise this service to students. If people really want to get their grad photos photoshopped that’s their choice […] but advertising and normalising it is weird”

But DIT student, Gareth Walker-Ayers, commented that photo editing is just another way to make people look and feel their best,

“It is a day that you want a nice memento from, and not looking your best for any reason in a photo can be pretty awful for someone. People use all sorts of ways to alter their appearance these days, through the clothes we wear, makeup, dying hair etc. But judging people who choose to have their own photo altered for themselves is not a good thing to do”

President of the Student’s Union in DIT, Fiachra Duffy, said that the issue would be brought before the Student Council “for further discussion and debate”.

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