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Photoshop Fails

January 12, 2012 by staff 

Photoshop Fails, Photography is not, and never has been, a truly representative medium. Lens distortion, light techniques and clever styling always have and continue to produce versions – often far detached from reality – of the truth.

In an age where Photoshop is both so prevalent and so often vilified, there are more and more cases of digital retouching being reined in, particularly if the ultimate use of the image is to sell a product.

But, says Fashionista.com, most photographers, retouchers and advertisers work within the rule of law and very few alter images to deliberately deceive.

Most recently, CoverGirl was ordered to remove an image of a model with long, dark eyelashes next to small print admitting that the image had been digitally enhanced.

NAD director Andrea Levine told Business Insider: ‘You can’t use a photograph to demonstrate how a cosmetic will look after it is applied to a woman’s face and then – in the mice type – have a disclosure that says “okay, not really.”‘

Many photographers and retouchers maintain, however, that problems on this scale remain rare. Fashionista spoke with several industry insiders, all of whom remained anonymous, to explain.

One said: ‘With the exception of maybe wrinkles being smoothed out, nearly all the retouching I’ve seen or done is to correct or change a choice made by another creative in the process.’

Another, a health and fitness publications retoucher, told the site that she is often faced with bad plastic surgery that needs to be ‘fixed.’

She said: ‘[We aren’t] over-slimming. Maybe just pushing in a little bit here and there where the camera might have exaggerated a side, but there still is a camera and there still is lens distortion, so sometimes it?s just correcting that.’

While no-one wants to be conned, consumers may have come to expect a level of ‘perfection’ that can only come from retouching, suggests the site. Diminishing budgets and online images are only heightening the search for photos that are beyond the quotidien.

The site says the greyest area is in beauty advertising, with one source admitting that he was made to transform an image of Rihanna into something that resembled an ‘illustration’ and another time worked on a book about make-up that was less about cosmetics than digital trickery.

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