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This week, I tweeted a link to The Photoshop Hall of Shame which caused some interesting discussion amongst my peer group about how important it is that people know images are retouched, how our minds can process them knowing this, how to NOT buy into the media machine that tells us we aren’t good enough. I then came across something shocking: a “photographer’s best friend” (a digital retoucher) who decided less than 2 months ago to quit his job and call for reform in the industry. Below is a video of him explaining what happened, and an accompanying letter (posted here with Roy’s consent.) WOW.

My name is Roy A. Cui and I live and work in Los Angeles, California. You may be familiar with my work. I have worked on many clothing and beauty advertising campaigns. I’ve worked on covers and editorial spreads for…

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About inmyinternest

A thirty-something woman, watching the world turn
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6 Responses to

  1. I remember chatting with a Finnish image retoucher, or a photoshop artist, who worked for an advertising agency. He told me almost ten years ago how all images in ads, especially women, were routinely retouched. And not only with a bit of airbrush or softglow like most people thought. It was much more than that: eyes were made to appear larger, noses smaller, cheek bones more pronounced, jawlines more defined. Boobs were blown out while all other parts of the female body were shrunk down. Moles, wrinkles, creases, bumps, folds and cellulite were erased.

    It was a revelation to me that models have moles, wrinkles, creases, bumps, folds and cellulite.

    • Roy A. Cui says:

      This is ALL true. Even 10 years ago it was already an established standard. Retouching didn’t start when Photoshop was invented. Traditional retouching was done on the film itself. The body morphing came more into the standard with Photoshop, but skin, blemishes, wrinkles, bumps, folds and cellulite were all be done pre PS for years.

      Oh, and thanks for watching my video, please follow me on my blog ( to see what happens next! Also, keep talking about what you know and get people thinking about it, so they will start talking to others too.

      • Yeah, obviously the body morphing couldn’t have been very extensive pre-photoshop, but otherwise the editing was surprisingly efficient even back then. And with photoshop, only sky is the limit! Although at some point the photoshopped women will start to look so alien that people will no longer be fooled into thinking they’re real, and I think we’re getting close to that point. I was browsing Victoria’s Secret bikinis this spring and it struck me as odd that ALL the models had the same, rather unlikely, body type. They were really tall and thin women with large breasts, and even though they didn’t have much meat on their hips, they appeared curvy because their waists were about the same width as their faces.

        They looked scary to me, unnatural. I showed the pictures to a male friend and asked if he thought there was something wrong with the models. He thought they looked hot. I pointed out how improbably narrow waists they had, how they had a rubbery looking, flawless skin and most strikingly, how they all had the same body type… and still my male friend didn’t think it was strange. He said, “Well, they probably work out a lot, and use good skin products.” Yeah… right!

        I’ll definitely keep talking about this, and I think I’m already following your blog. 🙂

        • Roy A. Cui says:

          Wow, that story about your male friend is telling. This is something that I get a lot of suggestions about mentioning in the future; that men think that women should look like that and that becomes the ideal in which to seek. Men need to know that they are being set up to want these women, whether that’s the media machine’s intent or not, and it puts unrealistic and unnecessary pressure on BOTH sexes.

          I’ll be posting an update in the next few days and a series of videos that show different retouching techniques that alter the looks of female bodies in the media. Thanks for following me and your support.

          Talk to you soon. 🙂

          • Great idea! It’s going to be fascinating to see how it’s done! I’ve dappled with photoshop myself a bit, and it’s really painstaking work to get natural looking results if you want to remove red eyes or a zit, so it’ll be interesting to see how you can make even more drastic changes than that, and have people think the picture is still real.

            And that’s just it… the “evil” of photoshop is that people tend to believe what they see. The male friend I was talking about is actually a fiercer feminist than I am, and he doesn’t expect women to be perfect. He has had crushes on women who are plump and who probably have cellulite. He knows about photoshop. He’s even something of a photography enthusiast and sometimes uses photoshop to alter his photos. And STILL he didn’t see the unnatural proportions of the Victoria’s Secret models. He wouldn’t believe that their bodies had been altered in any significant way. He thought such editing is highly unlikely because it’s so unethical, almost unthinkable.

  2. Pingback: A Body Like Britney’s | inmyinternest

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