Criticism of Photo Retouching

As mentioned in previous posts, images help fuel the brands of a fashion designer.  Using social media to share photos and to help market new trends and styles is vital to a fashion designer.  However, there are some practices of photography associated with fashion designers, such as photo retouching.  Photo retouching is gaining more public scrutiny and is sparking a lot of controversy.

According to Christine Haughney, in her article Who Can Improve On Nature. Magazine Editors Editors recognizes the issue of photo retouching in the fashion industry.  Now in the age of Web 2.0 and new technologies, it is more widespread than ever.  The ability to alter the photograph is extremely user friendly and easy for anyone to accomplish with programs such as Photoshop.

Some of the leading fashion designers and industry magazines have received negative backlash for practicing photo retouching of images.  In 2009 it was a Ralph Lauren advertisement.  Now in 2012, it is Lady Gaga on the September cover of Vogue. Many critics are arguing over whether the photo was retouched too much.

In the article Retouched or Not a Tool to Tell by Steve Lohr discussed the topic with former talent agent Seth Matlins.  Matlins firmly believes that readers and viewers are constantly criticizing advertising to find transparency in the message.  He emphasizes that people are losing faith of the reality of what images are produced today.

Natasha Courtenay-Smith discusses a similar feeling of mistrust in her article, A Touch Too Much.  She provides many examples and the actual images before and after retouching.  She enforces this practice is all too common and is out of control.

More fashion designers are going public about new policies regarding retouching with their brand images and advertisements.  Barbara Bradley wrote in her article Challenging the norm of too skinny models becoming less controversial in fashion media takes note of clothing company H&M and Marc Jacobs.   Her article explains that in 2010, Jacobs made a commitment to eliminate the tools of photo retouching to their advertisements and photos.  The company is determined to raise their voice and take into consideration their versatile range of customers.

Retouching has been around for many years among the fashion industry and the designers.  However, a shift of opinion by viewers is now expecting more realistic images portrayed in different medias in contrast to the drastically altered and stylized that were once acceptable in the past.

posted by Kendall Berton

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