Whether it’s tucking tummies, contouring jaw lines, enlarging eyes and lips, brushing out cellulite, or full-out head swapping, I’ve seen it all as a photo editor. While the conversation about the media’s portrayal and obsession with an unrealistic and unattainable beauty standard is not a new one, I think it’s crazy how much retouching people don’t notice. Over the last five years, having done many of the quick, subtle fixes that are the industry standard myself, I know that even an image considered to look “natural” is anything but.
Of course it hasn’t always been that way. Throughout art history, painters from Titian to Rubens to Gauguin found beauty in the bodies of women who would never fit into a size 0. But what would these famous works of art look like were they to conform to today’s Photoshopped standards of beauty? We’ve taken a digital liquefy brush to the painstakingly layered oils of some of the most celebrated paintings of the female form, nipping and tucking at will. There may be something sacrilegious in that, but the same could be said for our contemporary ideas of beauty. [x]