Readings 10: Photography & Lying

Retouching:  to improve or repair (a painting, a photograph, makeup, etc.) by making slight additions or alterations.

This week the readings focused and discussed photo manipulation and retouching. How much is too much? Where does the line begin to become thin? When does the photograph lose its honesty and becomes a lie?

I don’t necessarily think all retouching is bad. It is however hard to tell if a picture is 100% real. In the article No Boo-Boo or Cowlicks-Only In School Pictures, we read Oliver Tracey’s story. His parents were concerned for their son to take his first grade picture because he had a huge scrape on the side of his head. They never had to fear of a bad photo of their son because the photographer just removed the scrape digitally. Here is what I think.. Is it wrong? No, I don’t necessarily think that it is wrong however, it’s not the end of the world if little Oliver has a school photo with a scrape on his face. The scrape will always be a memory. He is a kid and kids have accidents. With that said, is it so bad that he has a picture with his scrape? School photos are taken yearly to capture a timeline of us growing up. Wouldn’t it be sort of funny to look back and Oliver to see the scar that he got a few days  before school photos? That scar is part of Oliver’s history, why try to forget about it?

Retouching:How Much Is Too Much? In this article author Shaun Dreisbach brings up valid points. He shares the results that Glamour magazine found while surveying 1,000 women. The results were a bit shocking. Most women are completely fine with retouching their own photographs. They say that pictures are no longer living in an old dusty box but they are all over the online world for whoever to see. They want to portray themselves looking their best on their best days! However, the article also states that when women see modified, touched-up photographs, it leads to low self-esteem and anxiety. No one is perfect. Even the super models have flaws. The only thing that comes from touched up photography is lies. H&M even openly admits to having 100% fake bodies for their models. In the article H&M puts real model heads on fake bodies, we learn that all of H&M photographs are manipulated and that the bodies are all the same because they are digitally made. Pretty soon models will be out of jobs and H&M will only model their clothing on cyborgs.

I was really intrigued by the article Body by Victoria. Here the author goes step by step through the manipulation of one picture. It was so interesting to find out that Victoria Secret even altered the skin tone of one of their models. Was that really necessary? These models are so beautiful as they are. These photo manipulated pictures really just lead the average woman to believe she is unattractive if she doesn’t look like these models.

In, In Brochures, What You See Isn’t What You Get, I was stunned. How did that college not get in trouble? They took a boy’s body and placed it in a crowd so they could deceitfully look as a diverse school. How wrong! They can’t lie about whether they have a diverse campus. A lot of students use diversity as a deciding factor for where they go to school and if they choose a campus based off a lie how deceiving!!

Mr. Dangin is a very popular person in the retouching world. He owns his own company in New York City called Box. He is well-known for working with different celebrities and making sure they all look perfect in their photographs. I liked the fact that Kate Winslet spoke out against too much retouching. She told the press, after she was made thinner for the cover of GQ magazine that “Retouching was becoming excessive” Good for her!

Lastly, bravo to Shirely Hornstein! I’m shocked that someone could be so dumb. Yes, she fooled people into thinking that she was a true investor so some could argue that the people who believed her are the dumb ones, but I think she was the dumb one to lie and promote on the internet all these lies about herself. Eventually lies on the internet become truths and are told as truths. It all comes out. Eventually Shirley’s lies did catch up to her and the name she tried so hard to promote and build up was ruined. I give her props for her Photoshop skills though. Those pictures did look like the real deal!


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