An illusion of fantasy & perfection – retouching a VS angel

by Ljubenka

I’ve just received the Victoria’s Secret ‘Christmas dreams & fantasies’ catalogue in the mail and as I flick the 175 page goliath, I am reminded of how beautiful, sexy and picture perfect the models are on every page. Oh my!

I also recall these last few days, there has been much talk and chit-chat all over the place regarding retouching of images and the famous and gorgeous Victoria’s Secret model, Doutzen Kroes whose ‘raw & real’ images came to the media surface accidentally (not what anyone wants really). It’s one thing to reveal it yourself and it’s another when it’s secretly leaked and the world finds out when you do.

Jezebel claims that some pictures leaked on the forum The Fashion Spot – where one could plainly see the difference with images that had post-production work and those that had not. The world gets to see – once again, what remarkable work goes in to creating an illusion of fantasy and perfection. The true-to-life moments and aspects of photography that capture bad backgrounds, lighting discrepancies, stray hairs, wrinkled garments, bruises, skin imperfections and discoloration, samples that need to be colour corrected etc. are an everyday occurrence for retouchers in the media and fashion industry.

Are we youth obsessed and still trying to attain perfection? Clearly so. Is everyone supposed to look like they are forever 18? Please people!

Some celebrities and stars have put their hand up to pose without the use of Photoshop or make-up to show the world what they are truly, naturally like for charity or cause, or to simply raise media awareness. Some notable celebs include Jessica Simpson, Sarah Murdoch and Brad Pitt.

Everyone I know retouches, even though clients (especially for web or internet shots) are very particular about keeping retouching to a minimum because it becomes a cost and time thing. That is, clothes need to be smooth with minimal wrinkles, no bras or bra straps showing, no VPL (visible panty line), hair pushed back for half the shots so they don’t have to spend time and money retouching ‘unnecessarily’. They are quite firm about it. They have an idea of what they want to present to the world at large and they stick to it.

So what would you rather see – the unattainable or the real? Or is somewhere in the middle OK?

What are your thoughts on retouching and Photoshop?