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  #1  
Old March 11th, 2009, 01:55 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Default Retouching and its social impact

Interesting video from the New York Times on the social impact of "retouching" in magazine images:

http://video.nytimes.com/video/2009/...photoshop.html

Warning: the word "art" appears in this piece.
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  #2  
Old March 11th, 2009, 02:17 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Doug_Kerr View Post
Interesting video from the New York Times on the social impact of "retouching" in magazine images:

http://video.nytimes.com/video/2009/...photoshop.html

Warning: the word "art" appears in this piece.
Doug,

I'm interested in the social implications of the absurd limits of perfection promoted by everyone from Lancome and Vogue to every picture we see for "fashion" or "glamor" We end up with faces sculpted, lips puffed ups, breasts perked, pants stuffed and pecs re morphed.

So yes, it's troubling but we know it's fantasy. When a woman looks at the pages of Vogue to see what's not in their ,mirror for free! I think it's a good idea to be open about the fantasy game and not use use perfected models to actually sell beauty products.

At the very least a disclosure "beautified", retoucher Joe Blog, MUA, Jannet Puffer or the like.

Changes in geometry/skin texture should be disclosed here too!

Asher
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  #3  
Old March 11th, 2009, 02:55 PM
James Newman James Newman is offline
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I particularly liked her dare at the end of the piece. I would love to see Playboy or Penthouse publish one month without any retouched photos. That would be an eye opener I am sure.
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  #4  
Old March 11th, 2009, 04:36 PM
Ken Tanaka Ken Tanaka is offline
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  • Not installing safety railings on the perimeters of balconies and stairways: Hazard
  • Not disclosing possible side-effects and drug interactions on medications: Hazard
  • Not disclosing that your house sits four feet below sea level to prospective buyers: Hazard
  • Requiring fine-print disclosures on fashion and glamour ads like: "Warning: Images of models may not be genuine. Your tits may vary.": Nanny State
This is a shallow, synthetic issue if I ever saw one. If we've really reared a generation of women who are emotionally and socially traumatized by the realization that their (generally 20 lbs overweight) physiques don't match those of models in glamour ads we have a bigger problem.
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Old March 11th, 2009, 04:57 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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[*]Requiring fine-print disclosures on fashion and glamour ads like: "Warning: Images of models may not be genuine. Your tits may vary.": Nanny State [/list]
Ken,

Still, it does concern me that having breast enhancement is now becoming "needed" for girls not so endowed by age 17!

Apart from that, the magazines are fine for our entertainment. What would you want your Shaharazade look like? Likely would not be fat, nor have acne scars and black hairs between her eyebrows! Please, please no one ban tweezers, lock up the retouchers or close down the makeup counters.

Asher
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  #6  
Old March 12th, 2009, 04:32 AM
Mike Bailey Mike Bailey is offline
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This seems to be one of those issues where a misguided effort is made to treat a symptom of a disease, but the disease goes merrily along untouched, manifesting itself in so many other ways.

Mike
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  #7  
Old March 12th, 2009, 07:56 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Then of course there is the unrelated issue of touching in glamor photography.

Best regards,

Doug
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  #8  
Old March 12th, 2009, 07:59 AM
Cem_Usakligil Cem_Usakligil is offline
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Then of course there is the unrelated issue of touching in glamor photography.

Best regards,

Doug
"U can't touch this!" LOL
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  #9  
Old March 12th, 2009, 04:34 PM
Jim Galli Jim Galli is offline
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Originally Posted by Ken Tanaka View Post
  • Not installing safety railings on the perimeters of balconies and stairways: Hazard
  • Not disclosing possible side-effects and drug interactions on medications: Hazard
  • Not disclosing that your house sits four feet below sea level to prospective buyers: Hazard
  • Requiring fine-print disclosures on fashion and glamour ads like: "Warning: Images of models may not be genuine. Your tits may vary.": Nanny State
This is a shallow, synthetic issue if I ever saw one. If we've really reared a generation of women who are emotionally and socially traumatized by the realization that their (generally 20 lbs overweight) physiques don't match those of models in glamour ads we have a bigger problem.
I love it!!
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  #10  
Old March 12th, 2009, 07:59 PM
David A. Goldfarb David A. Goldfarb is offline
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We do have laws about truth in advertising, for instance that in food advertisements, the product advertised in a photograph must be real. It can be sitting in a bowl of lucite ice cubes, and can be meticulously selected, arranged, and retouched, but it has to be the real product. Having regulations about how beauty products are advertised and what must be disclosed just seems to be a matter of deciding where to draw the line.
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  #11  
Old April 21st, 2010, 01:53 AM
sherief mohamed sherief mohamed is offline
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i wonder .... why does peoples every where always talking about retouching .. retouching for models .. retouching celebrities photos .. retouching prisedents photos .. like its so wierd ..

GUYS ITS ALWAYS COMMERCIAL WORK .. HOw do u think the magazine is gonna sell if there is nothing looks more attracktive !!!

something more different .. something little more perfect ...its beauty .. and peoples like beauty
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Old April 21st, 2010, 04:59 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sherief mohamed View Post
i wonder .... why does peoples every where always talking about retouching .. retouching for models .. retouching celebrities photos .. retouching prisedents photos .. like its so wierd ..

GUYS ITS ALWAYS COMMERCIAL WORK .. HOw do u think the magazine is gonna sell if there is nothing looks more attracktive !!!

something more different .. something little more perfect ...its beauty .. and peoples like beauty
Which magazine? which people?

Beauty of what?

Regards.
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  #13  
Old April 21st, 2010, 05:33 AM
Mike Shimwell Mike Shimwell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sherief mohamed View Post
i wonder .... why does peoples every where always talking about retouching .. retouching for models .. retouching celebrities photos .. retouching prisedents photos .. like its so wierd ..

GUYS ITS ALWAYS COMMERCIAL WORK .. HOw do u think the magazine is gonna sell if there is nothing looks more attracktive !!!

something more different .. something little more perfect ...its beauty .. and peoples like beauty
Because the images used to sell things actually have far deeper impacts on people than just being a pretty adjunct to selling products. The effects on expectations can be pervasive and damaging to people individually and to societies.

Also, as Fahim points out, it is very unsafe to generalise about what people want to see or consider beautiful.

Mike
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  #14  
Old April 21st, 2010, 10:47 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Also, as Fahim points out, it is very unsafe to generalise about what people want to see or consider beautiful.
Which then raises the question, how do the victims/subjects really think about their plasticised replicas? Models are different from real people, their image must not distract from the product being sold, or even paint a 'perfect' aspiration for a target audience.

However, when I see "retouched" portraits, skins not looking natural anymore, not a pore to be seen, as if the skin is treated with botox (=is lifeless/expressionless) and then covered in 'pancake' makeup or plaster and treated with fine grain sandpaper ready for a paintjob of the bodywork.

There is no doubt some technical skill needed to remove all wrinkels, bags, blemishes, you name it, but the subject doesn't live anymore when all the characteristic features are totally obliterated.

To me, a portrait tells a lot about the person inside. It allows to develop a feeling for the person, for his/her charm and personality and state of mind, despite the abstraction by the 2D medium. I don't develop feelings for a plastic doll, but then perhaps I'm different?

Cheers,
Bart
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Old April 21st, 2010, 12:16 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
Which then raises the question, how do the victims/subjects really think about their plasticised replicas? Models are different from real people, their image must not distract from the product being sold, or even paint a 'perfect' aspiration for a target audience.
Exactly!

Models are used to push information to us by attracting out attention. BTW, women especially don't wish to see what they can find in the mirror every day for free. Models are not meant to be real people. A woman in the dress is only a flashing neon light to bring the reader/buyer/passer by to get the message of the article header or the banner for the produce or whatever is being pushed to us.

Quote:
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However, when I see "retouched" portraits, skins not looking natural anymore, not a pore to be seen, as if the skin is treated with botox (=is lifeless/expressionless) and then covered in 'pancake' makeup or plaster and treated with fine grain sandpaper ready for a paintjob of the bodywork.
Women with plastic surgery all seem to have the same look of a showing in a casket in a mortuary, (a custom I abhor)! I call them "sisters of death!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
There is no doubt some technical skill needed to remove all wrinkels, bags, blemishes, you name it, but the subject doesn't live anymore when all the characteristic features are totally obliterated.
Hence my plea to everyone to rest in between retouching. Everything in layers and go away and do something else and come back with the resolve to only use 3-7% or even 55-95% of that change. For some reason 15% to 50% are hardly ever needed by my work, either a tad of a change or a substantial change but allowing back some reality. Also changes should not be global to the entire face but just as little and localized as one can. It's really not fair for a woman at a party to be captured in bad light with huge shadows and accentuation of every wrinkle and skin blotch. Likewise, in a portrait, it's unneeded to have high contrast light to display a persons features in a way that concentrates on skin texture rather than expression when the latter is the charm of the person.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
To me, a portrait tells a lot about the person inside. It allows to develop a feeling for the person, for his/her charm and personality and state of mind, despite the abstraction by the 2D medium. I don't develop feelings for a plastic doll, but then perhaps I'm different?
Perfect!

I'd advise large close light sources and reduce retouching to a minimum. The acne defect will be gone in a week. Get rid of it now! However, to widen and level the eyes, dilate the pupils, thicken the lips, I feel denigrates that person.

I do a lot of portraits every day and set up the lighting so no retouching is needed in most cases, except perhaps for the extra wisp of hair in the wrong place, a missing button or a tear in the white background paper due to stiletto/spiked heels!

in general, I'd hope retouching should be used mostly for commercial work where one has a job to flash signals to folk for some purpose. The other side of life, us, our persons should be real with wrinkles, chubbiness and as you point our charm and if one can add a setting that tells more, all the better.

We have no choice but to be immortal only to the extent that our good deeds that help the community in some small measure. Death is inevitable. We can look our best! That's pleasant. However we shouldn't mummify ourselves before we are laid to rest!

Asher
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  #16  
Old April 21st, 2010, 12:20 PM
Mike Shimwell Mike Shimwell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bart_van_der_Wolf View Post
Which then raises the question, how do the victims/subjects really think about their plasticised replicas? Models are different from real people, their image must not distract from the product being sold, or even paint a 'perfect' aspiration for a target audience.

However, when I see "retouched" portraits, skins not looking natural anymore, not a pore to be seen, as if the skin is treated with botox (=is lifeless/expressionless) and then covered in 'pancake' makeup or plaster and treated with fine grain sandpaper ready for a paintjob of the bodywork.

There is no doubt some technical skill needed to remove all wrinkels, bags, blemishes, you name it, but the subject doesn't live anymore when all the characteristic features are totally obliterated.

To me, a portrait tells a lot about the person inside. It allows to develop a feeling for the person, for his/her charm and personality and state of mind, despite the abstraction by the 2D medium. I don't develop feelings for a plastic doll, but then perhaps I'm different?

Cheers,
Bart

I agree, but one of our members - I'm on a train with a slow connection so can't easily revisit the thread - happily 'enhances' his clients without telling them, believing this to be the difference between a professional photographer and an amateur snapper, and I think the use of software to automate the retouch process has become very deeply ingrained in the portrait world.

I see all the identikit pictures churned out by the studio chains and understand they have a market to cater too, but I have no interest in trying to recreate it or in the high pressure sales approach that is often used - this is not meant as a statement that all people photographers are unethical (Kathy!), just based on the experience of some relatively vulnerable friends.

So perhaps, BArt, we're just out of step:)

Mike
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Old April 21st, 2010, 12:23 PM
Mike Shimwell Mike Shimwell is offline
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...However, to widen and level the eyes, dilate the pupils, thicken the lips, I feel denigrates that person.

...
in general, I'd hope retouching should be used mostly for commercial work where one has a job to flash signals to folk for some purpose. The other side of life, us, our persons should be real with wrinkles, chubbiness and as you point our charm and if one can add a setting that tells more, all the better.

we have no choice but to be immortal, however we shouldn't mummify ourselves before we are laid to rest!

Asher

Yes, I agree. And I admit to having removed the odd small acne, as it would be gone in a week anyway:) But wrinkles and all is real life - as my middle age makes abuindantly obvious:)

I think you meant mortal in your last sentence, but if you have a choice for the alternative I'd be interested (and not through my work please...)

Mike
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Old April 21st, 2010, 12:32 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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I think you meant mortal in your last sentence, but if you have a choice for the alternative I'd be interested (and not through my work please...)
Mike,

You posted so fast! This is the entire paragraph that was in process as you typed. I thought I hit preview and not "submit", LOL. Still, if I do find another path to immortality, besides crossing the rivers of the underworld in the afterlife that the Pharaoh took, I'll share it, for sure.

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We have no choice but to be immortal only to the extent that our good deeds that help the community in some small measure. Death is inevitable. We can look our best! That's pleasant. However we shouldn't mummify ourselves before we are laid to rest!

Asher
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  #19  
Old April 21st, 2010, 12:45 PM
Mike Shimwell Mike Shimwell is offline
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Mike,

You posted so fast! This is the entire paragraph that was in process as you typed. I thought I hit preview and not "submit", LOL. Still, if I do find another path to immortality, besides crossing the rivers of the underworld in the afterlife that the Pharaoh took, I'll share it, for sure.
Ah, never mind:)

Still, I think you're right - the love we show one another is what we leave behind of value

Mike
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Old April 21st, 2010, 01:01 PM
Jim Galli Jim Galli is offline
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8X10 studio camera, soft focus lens, Hurrell lighting, retouching desk and a set of pencils.

Nothing new under the sun.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 01:34 PM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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8X10 studio camera, soft focus lens, Hurrell lighting, retouching desk and a set of pencils.

Nothing new under the sun.
Hi Jim,

Not quite the same though. I've done direct retouch on negatives myself, and on smaller ones than 8x10in. I used pencil/knife/and a red colorant, its name escaped me, applied with a brush in various dillutions as a transparent mask. I've used peel-off masks and bleaching solutions with cyanide. We also used dedicated retouching studios for more drastic reconstruction, but it never looked as unnatural as some of the Photoshopped 'things' that are produced routinely these days.

Cheers,
Bart
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Old April 21st, 2010, 04:20 PM
Mike Shimwell Mike Shimwell is offline
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I've just been sent this link to an essay by W Eugene Smith - on journalism, but it includes the following quote:

The photographer must bear the responsibility for his work and its effect. By so much as his work is a distortion (this is sometimes intangible, at other times shockingly obvious), in such proportion is it a crime against humanity. Even on rather "unimportant" stories, this attitude must be taken—for photographs (and the little words underneath) are molders of opinion. A little misinformation plus a little more misinformation is the kindling from which destructive misunderstandings flare.

Whilst we would all (probably) separate journalism from advertising, in today's parlance portraits are a part of each subject's story?

Mike
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Old April 21st, 2010, 08:45 PM
Ruben Alfu Ruben Alfu is offline
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Some food for thought: Glossy Magazines in France Oppose Proposed Photoshop Regulations

An excerpt from the linked article:

"About 50 politicians in France are backing a proposed law to label retouched images as such to help fight eating disorders and body-image issues among young women."
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  #24  
Old April 21st, 2010, 09:46 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Shimwell View Post
I've just been sent this link to an essay by W Eugene Smith - on journalism, but it includes the following quote:

The photographer must bear the responsibility for his work and its effect. By so much as his work is a distortion (this is sometimes intangible, at other times shockingly obvious), in such proportion is it a crime against humanity. Even on rather "unimportant" stories, this attitude must be taken—for photographs (and the little words underneath) are molders of opinion. A little misinformation plus a little more misinformation is the kindling from which destructive misunderstandings flare.

Whilst we would all (probably) separate journalism from advertising, in today's parlance portraits are a part of each subject's story?

Mike
On the surface, this quote by Eugene W. smith is apt. A small voice cautions that it mght be simplistic to call the changes we make to ourselves "Crimes Against Humanity"

While it's true that we already routinely lie by choosing our lighting, position and perspective in photography, so does the choice of jacket, shirt, tie and hairstyle, (more often than not), lie about the flesh underneath. All these things are superficial coatings to signal and project our sense of identity and self-worth. Makeup does the job in the main remaining area exposed to view in most adult women in Western Societies.

So if, listening to Eugene W. Smith's advice, we would be "honest", how good would that be? We'd photograph an individual, stripped of all layers of grandiose obfuscation. That might be denying the argument that we are more than our flesh.

For portraits, one has to ask oneself what is the goal; to be kind, brutally honest or use the camera to represent the person and their being as someone of worth? The latter requires empathy, insight and skill. I endeavor to be kind and deliver a picture that's honest with lighting that allows the aspects I like of the person to radiate. That's my intent. Sure it's not the absolute truth, but I forgive myself.

Asher
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  #25  
Old April 22nd, 2010, 11:13 AM
fahim mohammed fahim mohammed is offline
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I have to come back to the question I originally put..

What is the purpose of the photo?

I am sure the marketing dept. of Vogue/Elle etc. have different concepts of photographs than
I have seen occasionally in my parents or children's medical books!
( although nowadays Allure and the rest seem to be competing with Gray's anatomy manuals )

Should it be unretouched?

It depends.

How much retouching should be done? Depends on the purpose and the intended audience.

Mike mentioned about ' values' earlier on. I agree. But then Mike and me might be in the minority.

As they say..whatever or whoever pulls your chain..gets to flush.
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