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I will be the first to admit it, Photoshop is great. Just this past weekend my daughter and I did a shoot for soon to launch Venusstock . While I am a very proud mom and stay fit, I appreciate the nip and tuck that I will get in post production to look (even more) fabulous. If I could get up in the morning and get rid of my crow’s feet and the signs of aging just like that I would do it. I want to look good and please who doesn’t?

But then I go workout at my gym or hang out on the beach. There they are – the real people.  Aging has the same effect in various degrees for everyone. We get wrinkles and our skin isn’t as fabulous as it once was. Perhaps the extra pound or two settles on the wrong part of the body and there is gravity. A recent poll at AskMen.com says that 40% of men agree that women ‘loose their looks’ after 40. Only 15% of men said women never lose being beautiful. Ouch.

All of that changes when we enter the celebrity world. Even Cindy Crawford once said that she’d like to get up and look like Cindy Crawford. To achieve this look it takes 2 hours. It includes a controlled environment, lighting and the right equipment. And then there is post production. It is obvious to all of us that celebrity images are retouched and often times to a point where the image is so over retouched that skin doesn’t even look like skin anymore. The result is that the person looks ‘fake.’

My recent visit at the Annenberg in Los Angeles and the Beauty Culture exhibit reminded me of the good old days. I found images from photographer TYEN who was back in my ‘photo editor at Elle’ days my favorite Make-Up artist turned Photographer. Back then there was no retouching and his work was flawless. To this day I remember the beauty image where I wanted to touch the skin because it was perfect.

We have gone so far into the deep end that we are seeing a noticeable movement against the trend of featuring the over perfection and exaggerated image manipulation. In Europe where advertising laws are more stringent than here Christy Turlington and Julia Roberts ad’s were just pulled because in the eyes of the watchdog Advertising Council it represented false advertising. The article states that before images of Julia Roberts could contractually not been show to anyone. Probably out of fear that someone would see what she actually looks like. My guess, she has a few wrinkles.  Here is the article in the Guardian.

What I’d like to hear from you is which side of the argument do you buy into and here are the angles I have heard:

– Retouching is an art-form. Just another way to enhance an image.

– Retouching is necessary otherwise your images won’t sell because it is the current standard.

– Retouching represents false advertising. People do not look like this, they look fake.

– Retouched images of celebrities are causing huge problems for preteens and teens who feel the pressure to look like something that can’t even be achieved.

Where do you stand in all of this? Let me know I appreciate a spirited discussion.

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