Lady Gaga Retouched Into Oblivion For Vogue
There’s been a lot of retouching talk lately as a few magazines have come under fire for blatantly overdoing it in the last year. Most of you have probably heard about Seventeen Magazine taking a no-Photoshop pledge and I’m down with that. With all the pressures on teen girls these days, I feel like that’s step in the right direction. The argument for or against retouching and Photoshop is way too involved for me to wax on about and to be honest I have very conflicting feelings about all of it. Making skinny girls skinnier is ridiculous and kind of harmful in the long run. Taking out a blemish, however, is just good manners. Speaking of ridiculous, have you guys seen Lady Gaga on the cover of Vogue?
I should mention that this photo and the ones inside are by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot but honestly, who the fuck cares? The credit, if they would dare accept it, would go to whatever illustrative team decided to do this digital surgery. Here’s a lo-res B and A for you below.
In the same way that Jay Z ushered the end of autotune, I’d like to do the same for cross processing. Will a famous photographer, magazine, art director, Gregory Crewdson, Jeff Koons, or Ricki Lake PLEASE publicly denounce this practice so we can go back to normal processing for a minute? Cross processing is cool because it’s an accident, a mistake if you will. It happens when you run slide film (positive film) through the same developing process as negative film. You get that crazy color shift and sometimes an excess of graininess. But if every picture is cross processed, nothing is really cross processed. We are approaching that point–a cross-processed critical mass. There are a million other things to be upset about…the elongated neck, skin smoothing, and exaggerated liquefaction of her dress, but we should focus on something else.
We have entered a time where photography is creeping into the realm of illustration. (In this case, more like running and jumping into that realm.) This creates a problem for photographers, as illustrators just need a base image and it doesn’t really matter about quality or lighting or experience with models, or even the model. Why hire a photographer at all? What’s the ultimate point?
I’m not upset with illustrators. I appreciate a well-done comp as much as the next person. But in the end, if my photos are going to be so manipulated that no one would even recognize that I took them, then I don’t think I’d want to take them. Most of us would be outraged if our photos were edited in a way inconsistent with our styles. (True Story: I do not know how Alas and Piggot feel about this. It’s possible that they love this cover and sleep with it every night.)
Some months back, Lady Gaga, who I feel like is attractive in a multitude of ways, was in Harper’s Bazaar without makeup. In fairness, they probably cleaned up her skin a bit and took care of any darkness under her eyes. Shooting in black and white is a way to flatter the skin if done correctly as well. There are always tricks. I guess what I’m saying is that I’d rather be lied to in this way, than in the previous images. That, and I feel like I have more job security when it doesn’t take a team of special effects artists to put a photo on the cover of a magazine.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Talk to me in the comments below.