The ‘retouching’ of imagery is all around us; the process is used to ‘perfect’ most, if not every, photograph within the media. Natural beauty is often disguised by the detailed manipulation of ‘imperfections’ during the post-production process, producing a glamorous illusion of many icons in our culture. Magazine editors have argued that the reasoning behind retouching stems from the reading audience wanting a perfected look, which they in turn aim to portray in there day-to-day lives. They also say that readers know that the photographs they see are altered and, therefore, they do not need to be labeled as such.

This poses the question, ‘Is re-touching necessary?’ To the extent that it is currently used, I personally do not think it is. Being bombarded with images of ‘perfect’ super-toned bodies and flawless skin can, and does, give a distorted image of beauty which many women feel pressure to live up to. But look at these images of Madonna and Angelina Jolie. They are beautiful already, before the retouching. In my opinion, ‘flaws and blemishes’ should be celebrated, as they create individuality; the essence of true beauty.

The images above show the kind of retouching that most editorial and advertising images undergo. They give us an idea of how much work goes into post-production and how manipulated the final images are. Images which give their viewers an un-realistic image of beauty to aspire to.

For Dove’s 2003 “Campaign for Real Beauty” they produced a short film called ‘Evolution’ which provides a refreshing view of the truth behind the image; stripping back the make up, undoing the slimming processes and showing the blemishes of reality. Once uploaded, the advert was viewed over 40,000 times in its first day, 1,700,000 times within a month of its upload and 12,000,000 times within its first year. Here is one of the many Youtube videos of the film:

Tell us what you think about retouching in the media on the All Walks Beyond the Catwalk Facebook page.

Post by Zina Graber
Zina is a fashion styling student from Cornwall who has a huge interest in celebrating the female form and individuality through styling. I want to be part of changing women’s negative perceptions of themselves so I have recently created a campaign that promotes global style and fashion diversity. The idea is to collect photos of individuals around the world, no matter who you are and showcase you’re style to the world. Check out “What Ya Wearing World?” and find Zina on Twitter @whatyawearingw

Editor Charlotte Gush, on Twitter @CavaCharlotte