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Local election posters are dominating lampposts across the country, particularly in Dublin Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland
Election 2014

The truth behind Brian Hayes's white teeth and whether political parties Photoshop their posters

With posters erected all over the country we’ve found out what work, if any, candidates have had done on their pictures.

WITH LAMPPOSTS ACROSS the country now dominated by election posters people are talking not only about the local and European elections in a few weeks, but the quality of the posters and the candidates’ pictures.

In particular voters in Dublin have been dazzled by the pearly-white smile of Brian Hayes on posters dotted around the capital.

So white is the Fine Gael candidate for Dublin’s smile, that one former politico, Fergus Finlay, joked to the Sunday Independent that Hayes’s teeth might glow in the dark, while there’s been plenty of chat about those gnashers on Twitter.

So what’s the story? Has Fine Gael or Hayes’s campaign been at the Photoshop, got out the airbrush or has the candidate had a trip to the dentist?

Fine Gaels Elections Posters Campaigns Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland Laura Hutton / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

“For Brian the people of Dublin come first and if they were going to have to look at his face everywhere they went he wanted them to see the best version he could manage. But it’s all natural,” a spokesperson for the Hayes campaign said today.

Meanwhile, a Fine Gael party spokesperson suggested that Hayes may have got his teeth polished, but insisted with regards to all of the party’s posters that they are “not aware of any photoshopping”.

However the spokesperson did caution that candidates “provide their own pictures”.

Fine Gaels Elections Campaigns Photocall Ireland Photocall Ireland

We asked the other main political parties whether they used Photoshop on their candidates’ pictures.

A Sinn Féin spokesperson told us ”basically the response is that we do not”.

Fianna Fáil said it is a “general rule” that candidates’ images are not manipulated, a spokesperson saying: ”When designing posters we work to make them as clear as possible, with a good quality photograph of the candidate.

“As a general rule we avoid any manipulation of a candidates’ image.”

Local Election Posters Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland Sam Boal / Photocall Ireland / Photocall Ireland

Labour admitted that Photoshop or “similar software” is used as “a matter of routine ” to optomise images “with regard to brightness, colour balance, contrast, etc etc”

But a party spokesperson added: “Outside of that I’m not aware of any instances where it has been used to alter a candidate’s appearance.”

The Green Party said that its posters were produced by “a team of voluntary designers”.

“They used various software programmes to prepare and position the images for the printing process, which is a routine part of any print job,” a party spokesperson added.

The party also pointed out that its Ireland South candidate Grace O’Sullivan chose what she said was a “natural and honest picture of myself”.

“I don’t use makeup on a day to day basis, the way I look has always been more down to healthy diet and exercise,” O’Sullivan said. 

Read: ‘Women in politics can’t win when it comes to appearance’ – Childers

Read: ‘There were a few screams… mainly from the men’: Labour TD catches rat in Leinster House

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