Last week over my morning coffee on a leisurely day off from work I was watching CNN and they were speaking about the controversy around Jane Fonda’s W cover and the obvious retouching that had been done to the photo. The news anchor commented that Jane Fonda looked like she was 35 in the cover photo, well I do not think she looks like she is thirty five in the photo, but she also does not look like she is seventy seven either. Kudus to her for getting this cover and looking amazing but it does raise the question of when retouching can go to far. And it may be noted that this is not quite what Jane Fonda looks like in life either regardless of what age she appears to be, anyone who watches Grace & Frankie knows this. So, when exactly does retouching go to far? And is there a difference between applying an Instagram filter and professionally retouching a photo? I personally do not have a problem with basic retouching, I do not have a problem with polishing up a photo and making an image more presentable: removing a blemish, brightening up under the eyes, removing redness around the nose or softening veins and basic things like that. After all isn’t wearing makeup more or less doing the same thing? I also do not have a problem with plastic surgery as long as it is done correctly, and if the person having it done can afford it, and it makes them feel better about themselves and it is not extreme then why not? Also it should be noted that am image captured by a camera is technically not real. The human eye is much more sophisticated then even the most advanced cameras at registering light. The human was designed to “see” images in 3-D in real time, a camera “captures” an image to save it in a 2-D environment.
Because the camera must compensate for it’s much less efficient ability to capture light, it is forced to find a middle ground to correctly “expose” the image. This is why so many people look older in photographs. Because the camera is finding this middle ground, shadows are often more extreme looking in a photo then what the human eye will see when looking at an actual face in person. So of course the area under the eyes, and any lines or indentations in the face will read as more extreme. So the question begs what reality is the camera really capturing? I remember when I was working at bridal magazine and I was doing a layout of some professionally shot photos of our IT mangers wedding photos. I noticed that his wife looked a bit older then he did. Well a number of months later she stopped by the office and I was so surprised at how much younger and prettier she looked in person. She just looked very different in her photos—her face looked longer and she looked about a decade older then she did in person. So again, which is the reality? But retouching an image to the point that the person looks three decades younger or like a completely different person is another story. And it may be noted that this issue always seems to revolve around women. How come we never speak about the controversy of a retouched photo of a man? In this photo from the website Howtobearedhead.com a young women with freckles was shot by photographer Shelby Tsuji in which she had half her face heavily made up and the other half left with out makeup. The model in the photo spoke about how she felt growing up as a redhead with freckles and how she felt less beautiful. So is this when retouching goes to far? When people feel that they have to look a certain way? And the funny thing is, this photo was not even about retouching but the use of makeup or the covering up of perceived flaws . So what do you think? How far is too far? And if everyone wants to look their best is a little filtering or retouching OK?
After all isn’t wearing makeup more or less doing the same thing? Allie of ALLIE NYC