The fine line between "you too could look like this (if you just buy our product)" and "you don't look like this (and you never will)." Must viewing.
(Thanks to David A. Goldfarb)
Featured Comment by beuler: "The biggest problem I see is attribution.
"I don't really have any objection to images being 'worked on' after the fact. I do object to the fact that every photograph published fails to attribute credit to the Photoshop artist that made it all happen.
"If all images published were required to attribute credit to the PS artist, then problem solved. Not only is due credit given, but the viewer will know whether or not the image has been 'worked on.' "
Mike replies: I agree.
Featured Comment by Gordon Lewis: "This applies to more than photos of models. The knowledge that most of the photos we see in magazines and the web these days have been digitally altered makes me feel less connected, less interested, less moved. It's like looking at bowl after bowl of wax fruit. No matter how realistic the fruit may be, it won't make your mouth water and if you're hungry it's useless."
Featured Comment by Steve Rosenblum: "I viewed this video when it was first posted. I believe that the damage that this sort of thing does to women's body image and self esteem is real and disturbing. I have actually sat down with my own daughter with a stack of women's magazines and 'unmasked' the photoshop manipulations for her and her friends in order to decrease their power. My favorite was a cover photo in which the model's arm had been reattached at an anatomically impossible angle in order to allow for the cover text to appear in the right spot.
"What is interesting to me is that the master photo retouchers that were interviewed for this piece state that they are well aware of the damage that their work may be causing, but view it as a societal rather than a personal issue. They appear uncomfortable, but not quite uncomfortable enough to modify what they are doing. A few years ago I took a Photoshop workshop from Katrin Eismann, clearly a master photo retoucher and teacher. She mentioned that she was troubled enough by the potential negative effects of this kind of work that she regularly gives lectures to high school girls in which she uses her own work to demonstrate how far from reality these sorts of photographs actually are. Sort of trying to prevent some of the damage that the work she does in her profession may be doing.
"I'm not sure that Americans would tolerate or desire the heavy handed sort of regulation being proposed in France. But it seems to me that even the retouching artists themselves are asking the rest of us in society for some kind of guidance. I suspect the best solution is the kind of education I described above. Perhaps those of us with this sort of Photoshop knowledge should share it with our wives and daughters either informally at home, or by giving educational sessions at schools, churches, etc...."
Mike adds: Reasonably speaking, "laws" to control this sort of thing
would never work, and they would so obviously never work I'm sort of surprised that anyone (um, anywhere...je ne veux pas dire pour offenser) would
even bother to propose such a thing. However, I think beuler and Steve
Rosenblum, in their comments above, have the right solutions. For instance, when
an image is retouched, the retoucher could be credited right along with the
photographer (the problem with this is that advertising photographs are
often not credited at all). When an image is a pastiche, perhaps the
"compositor" should be credited above the photographer(s). I once proposed different names altogether for unretouched digital photographs (i.e., current photojournalistic standards), retouched images, and composited images. These ideas would be the sort of thing that the French could pass laws about, because they're clear and they're simple—and not restrictive of expressive freedom. They would be labeling laws, essentially.
Raising consciousness would be a good thing too. Someone should make a really hot, fun, fast-paced 50-minute movie about fashion, Photoshop, and body image—just the right length to show in middle- and high-school assemblies and classes.
P.S. This isn't about "digital vs. traditional," and it's not "anti-digital," either. No one's saying nobody ever manipulated images prior to the advent of digital imaging. It's simply more pervasive now, and, as the retoucher in the video says, much easier for the retoucher to cover his or her tracks.
Featured Comment by David A. Goldfarb: "I also liked the suggestion that the retoucher should be credited. The old idea was that the retoucher and the lab weren't credited, because they were merely serving the vision of the photographer, but it seems that in advertising the situation is really that the photographer and retoucher are serving the vision of the Art Director, so why not give credit where credit is due?
"The images are most likely taken from Mark Vieira's Hurrell's Hollywood Portraits, and Vieira's source (if I remember correctly, because I don't have the book handy) is Hurrell's retoucher's portfolio.
"I suppose they could have also combined photographs of different models, as described in the video, using analogue techniques (stripping-in, masking, duping to scale, etc.), and we might think today that that would be so labor intensive that it would be easier just to reshoot, but was it? After all, they were using dye transfer for advertising, which was labor intensive to begin with, and one of the advantages of the process was the possibility of undetectable hand retouching.
"Any old-time fashion shooters out there who can recall an instance of Frankenstein's model made the old fashioned way?"