LG of the Jury: To Retouch or Not to Retouch?

Did y’all hear about the drama going on with Self Magazine and Kelly Clarkson’s September issue? A lot of people are abuzz about how much she was photoshopped for the cover, especially for an article that was to promote staying true to yourself.

Photo credit: SELF Magazine

The editor of the magazine found the backlash to be significant enough to issue a response. This is what she said:

Last Friday, the Internet was abuzz with the fact that I answered the question, did you Photoshop the September issue cover photo of Kelly Clarkson? with the answer: Yes. Of course we do retouching (though it’s technically not Photoshop, but that is semantics). We correct color and other aspects of the digital pictures we take and then publish the best version we can.

Check out the rest of her response here.

Now I know this is a practice by many magazines. It is hard to not remove some pimples here and there, and other imperfections that really – separate it from a photo shoot and a paparazzi/candid shot. But there’s a much bigger difference when the person is so seriously altered that they practically look like a different person.

Currently, Olay came under much scrutiny for their photo shoot with model Twiggy, where her real life photographs versus her photo shoot posed some serious differences. So much that the British government is considering banning photoshopping (though appropriate for MOJ!).

In the past, Kate Winslet argued being photoshopped to an unrealistic image in Vanity Fair. Jessica Alba was photographed for a Campari ad, where they even digitally moved the positioning of her knee. And of course, Kim Kardashian had some retouching done for her Complex magazine photo shoot. In this case Kim supported the photoshopping and justified it to be the same as removing redeye from family photos.

Here’s the Self video from the shoot (though they conveniently don’t have any clear footage of her below the belt)…

I am a flip-flopper on this issue. I know it gets done, but I like it done to a minimum. I’ll agree to a “perfect skin tone” touch up, but not to a “half the body misconstrued.” I also think being that the issue had a “staying true to yourself” theme, they should’ve kept it to a serious minimum and used minimizers like Spanx and ruching, and crafty posing… ya know?

What about you Ladies & Gents of the Jury? What’s your verdict on photoshopping in general, and/or on this case alone?

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5 thoughts on “LG of the Jury: To Retouch or Not to Retouch?”

  1. That's lame! That month's issue was about self exteem and natural beauty! And I think they made her look uglier :/ her face on the cover is like plastic, it's weird and fake.
    Well of course makeup, the right light, photographers and photoshop can do miracles… I mean look at Christina Aguilera or Pam Anderson without makeup lol


  2. I honestly believe that the magazine covers are just propetuating eating diorders and girls false impressions of what one can really look like. Nobody is “perfect” and we all should be ok with that. Retouching a pimple or making skin look better is one thing, but leave the body alone. Let's just learn to love ourselves for who we are


  3. @Valz – I agree witcha – if you want the person you're putting on the cover, leave their body alone

    @anonymous – you're right! they create the ultimate difficult hollywood image


  4. wow…thanks for this

    I dont like how magazines do s much photshop, i mean its ok i guess for people that know that theyve done lots of photoshop, but it sucks for ppls that dont know about photoshop ..isnt there this phrase about how “no wonder our perception on beauty is distorted”

    thanks for sharing


  5. They're right – this is a joke. I just got this magazine in & thought “Kelly usually is a little bottom heavy…” But I always loved Kelly because she was always saying that she liked her body & wasn't going to change.

    I also have a grip about magazine ads for mascara! They should not be allowed to wear false eyelashes in the ad.


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