Zack, who works in the art department at a major magazine, added that “with the exception of maybe wrinkles being smoothed out, nearly all the retouching I’ve seen or done is to correct or change a choice made by another creative in the process….[like] I once had to change a subject’s wig color–a choice by the stylist–to one that made the shot more aesthetically pleasing.” Andrew, a retoucher with 20 plus years of experience did admit that he was once asked to alter a shot of Kate Moss to “flatten out a little bit of a curve where her pants were.” He’s also lifted bust lines and smoothed butts.
Obviously it happens, but it sounds like girls’ bodies are not altered so as to be unrecognizable. Tamara, another professional retoucher with decades of experience, said of her work with health and fitness pubs, “[We aren’t] over-slimming. Maybe just pushing in a little bit here and there where the camera might have exaggerated a side, but there still is a camera and there still is lens distortion, so sometimes itʼs just correcting that.” Whatʼs also ironic is that sheʼs “ﬁxing” a lot of bad plastic surgery to make it look more natural. Too-bright tooth laminates and ubiquitous fake-looking hair extensions are also common issues.
What everyone agreed on is that photographers generally don’t spend as much time on shoots as they used to. The prevailing attitude seems to be, as Andrew said, “‘Oh donʼt worry about that theyʼll ﬁx it in post-[production].ʼ” Tamara said the stylists will just pin up a garment and not iron anything because they know it can be taken care of later.
But with a little twist this video, by Buzzfeed (18 Unreal Magazine Photoshop Fails) is a comical look at some of the fails that the industry puts out accidentally.
Its also interesting that the picture of Oprah Winfrey was highlighted as I used that example in my dissertation.