Magazine retoucher reveals Photoshop secrets
Photoshopping is always in the news now, and it's back again after a group of students in America went to Seventeen magazine to try and get them to stop airbrushing their models. Seventeen sort of agreed, although the 'treaty' that they drew up with them was more than a little vague.
Anyway due to that, and the meeting the same group had with Teen Vogue (with more or less the same result, just in a more obvious way), airbrushing is back in the arena. Buzzfeed published an interview with a photograph retoucher who revealed the inside scoop on how much actually goes on.
It's a lot.
"I work on supermodels, and people are always asking, what do you do to them?," the unnamed retoucher told them. "We do a lot of skin clean-up to make their skin look perfect, but I don't do any distortion of their bodies because these girls are really genetically blessed. I have smoothed boniness before - like when models have bones sticking out of their chest, they want that subdued. That's somewhat common."
Oh and he confirmed that the skin you see in magazine spreads really is unattainable - for anyone.
"We completely remove veins and freckles and moles and bags under the eyes all the time. We often remove body hair, subdue wrinkles, whiten teeth, pop the eyes. We also smooth kneecaps and veins in the hands and things like that - anything that's distracting that takes away from the product being featured," he explained. "If you look at something and the model's got dark kneecaps with dry skin, your eyes are going to go straight to the knees instead of whatever it is they're modeling. Or maybe there's something in the background you have to take out just to make it less distracting. The goal of retouching is to put the emphasis on the thing that's being sold."
But there's putting emphasis on the thing being sold, and then there's completely transforming it, which is why beauty adverts have been coming so under fire in the past few years. Apparently the mascara ones are the worst.
"I do work on a lot of cosmetics images, too, and the mascara ads are just ridiculous," he said. "They wear false eyelashes, of course, in the photoshoot, and we completely draw the lashes in one by one so it's just like a forest of eyelashes. That's like the biggest lie of all - you can't achieve that."