Reverse Photoshopping (I’ll explain)


When we think of photoshopping we think of a picture being altered to look better in a very specific way. We think of waistlines and thighs being reduced or wrinkles being removed, or hair, and bustlines being filled out. Well a former editor at Cosmopolitan, Leah Hardy just dropped a truth bomb. She penned an expose on how often the practice of photoshop is often used to hide a dirty little secret, the fact that often the models are too thin and don’t look healthy. That’s right, there seems to be a regular practice of erasing the evidence of starvation in these young blessed beauties by smoothing jutting ribs and filling out cheekbones…who would have thunk it huh? So if you think that the model in the ad looks too thin, think about theĀ  that she might have had help looking that …full….

Check out this report from the Huffington Post:

<div style=’text-align:center’>
<script type=’text/javascript’ src=’′></script>


I think the greatest irony is that we are in this Goldilocks tussle between being too big or too small when we could just concentrate on health and make that a focus and the shape of the body would just be a by-product in look…What is oalso odd is that Jane Druker, the editor of the ironically titleed Healthy magazine admits to having to reverse retouch photos for the rag—my question then is why hire models that are so thin you have to fill them out in editing? why not hire the girl who actually looks and might be healthy. She admits toadmitted retouching a cover girl who looked ‘really thin and unwell’

Robin Derrick, creative director of Vogue, has admitted: ‘I spent the first ten years of my career making girls look thinner -and the last ten making them look larger.’
It’s kinda twisted and sick huh? here is the opening to Leah Hardy’s expose, and a link to the full article as well….

A big fat (and very dangerous) lie: A former Cosmo editor lifts the lid on airbrushing skinny models to look healthy

By Leah Hardy

Most of us are sensible enough to know that the photographs of models and celebrities in glossy magazines aren’t all they seem.

Using the wonders of digital retouching, wrinkles and spots just disappear; cellulite, podgy tummies, thick thighs and double chins can all be erased to ‘reveal’ surprisingly lean, toned figures.

Stars such as Mariah Carey, Britney Spears and Demi Moore have benefited from this kind of technical tampering.

'Reverse retouched': Cover girl Kamila was airbrushed to look healthier‘Reverse retouched’: Cover girl Kamila was airbrushed to look healthier

Kate Winslet – who shed a couple of stones this way in a shoot for a men’s magazine after her normally curvy body was digitally ‘stretched’ – complained that the practise was bad for women, who could never live up to this kind of fake perfection.

But there’s another type of digital dishonesty that’s rife in the beauty industry, and it’s one that you may well never have heard of and may even struggle to believe, but which can be just as poisonous an influence on women.

It’s been dubbed ‘reverse retouching’ and involves using models who are cadaverously thin and then adding fake curves so they look bigger and healthier.

This deranged but increasingly common process recently hit the headlines when Jane Druker, the editor of Healthy magazine – which is sold in health food stores – admitted retouching a cover girl who pitched up at a shoot looking ‘really thin and unwell’.

It sounds crazy, but the truth is Druker is not alone. The editor of the top-selling health and fitness magazine in the U.S., Self, has admitted: ‘We retouch to make the models look bigger and healthier.’

And the editor of British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, has quietly confessed to being appalled by some of the models on shoots for her own magazine, saying: ‘I have found myself saying to the photographers, “Can you not make them look too thin?”‘

Skinny: Healthy magazine's cover star Kamila as she appears normallySkinny: Healthy magazine’s cover star Kamila as she appears normally

Robin Derrick, creative director of Vogue, has admitted: ‘I spent the first ten years of my career making girls look thinner -and the last ten making them look larger.’

Recently, I chatted to Johnnie Boden, founder of the hugely successful clothing brand.

He bemoaned the fact that it was nigh on impossible to find suitable models for his catalogues, which are predominantly aimed at thirty-something mothers.

‘I hate featuring very skinny models,’ he told me. ‘We try to book models who are a healthy size, but we constantly find that when they come to the shoot a few weeks later, they have lost too much weight. It’s a real problem.’

I don’t know if Boden has been forced to resort to reverse retouching, but I have a confession to make.

I, too, have been part of the reverse retouching trend. When editing Cosmopolitan magazine, I also faced the dilemma of what to do with models who were, frankly, frighteningly thin.

There are people out there who think the solution is simple: if a seriously underweight model turns up for a shoot, she should be sent home. But it isn’t always that easy.

A fashion editor will often choose a model for a shoot that’s happening weeks, or even months, later. In the meantime, a hot photographer will have flown in from New York, schedules will be juggled to put him together with a make-up artist, hairdresser, fashion stylist and various assistants, and a hugely expensive location will have been booked.

And a selection of tiny, designer sample dresses will be available for one day only. JUMP!!!


4 thoughts on “Reverse Photoshopping (I’ll explain)”

  1. Okay, I can’t speak for the health of any of these models but I can say without a doubt this article makes me feel like absolute shit. I am a 22 year old woman, 4’11, and 85 pounds. Yeah. 85 pounds. I was born prematurely and my entire family is very skinny. I have a very fast metabolism and I have to eat every three to four hours. My ribs show. I have hip bones that jut out. Elbow bones and joints that are too pokey. My thighs don’t touch. That model at the very top there, yeah, that is how I look with my shirt off and my arms raised. Ribs everywhere. I would like to point out however that the model has at least a B cup size breast and incredibly healthy, toned arms, which to me are two BIG signs that she has not starved herself, she is instead naturally skinny. Yeah. I get it. I’m really unattractive and unhealthy looking and I ought to eat a cheeseburg and be sent home, right? Sure, because that doesn’t hurt exactly the same way that being called fat does. I have been made fun of and insulted just as many times in my life as my other friends. It hurts all the same. I try so hard to love your blog but it really is biased and I feel unrepresented. You don’t seem to care about body image when its centered around thin girls. Trust me, those of us that are naturally “anorexic looking,” did not choose to set the standard. We hate it and we are probably some of the most insecure people one the planet. I come here and I read because I believe everyone is beautiful and NO ONE should have to feel bad about how they naturally look. Sorry to burst your bubble but some of us are healthy and boney. It might interest you to know that on my severely insecure days I gorge myself on food in an attempt to put on weight so people will quit calling me a skeleton, which, typically is a very unhealthy habit and thanks to my natural metabolism, it does not work. I am incapable of gaining any more weight. Why can’t we all agree the fashion industries sucks. The industry sucks. Not the models, they are just as much victims as we are and its not fair to criticize and judge their bodies. If normal people of ALL sizes were represented then no one would have to feel insecure, not you or me. You don’t know what “healthy” looks like, for me, it looks like ribs and for other girls it looks like rolls. Health is not measured by physical attractiveness or the ability to fall in the middle.

  2. For the record here is a quote from the article that YOU just sent me to, which I would normally click out of trust for your judgement and opinions.

    ‘No wonder women yearn to be super-thin – they never see how ugly thin can be’

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  3. Jenny I am reporting on what is happening, my opinion was that the magazine should hire models that look the way they want them to look so that they don’t have to photoshop them either way. I think the backlash to hyper-thinness has more to do with the commercialization of thinness and the presentation of thin as being the ideal beauty. Being thin or skinny (naturally and healthily) is not a problem but the reality is that the majority of the models walking and in print are working to be and stay that thin, once they move in to puberty it can become a task. This is what I do not support… That woman’s comment was her own I linked to the article because it was the source material for the post

  4. Jenny, I am sorry to hear that you feel that way and that the article made you feel that way. I was reporting on an article that came across my desk that I think is of import in terms of body distortion- one way or the other, I have done post on photoshopping to make people look thinner. However I understand your feeling underrepresented here. I am sure that you are not alone, and I am glad that you are bringing it to my attention, now I can hopefully address it. I write from my perspective, I also take suggestions from reader like yourself. What I would encourage jenny is that instead of checking out of the blog, contribute, one of the fixed posts at the top of the page is In Your Words. It is a space that is there for readers who want to share their story, their body image perspective so that other can learn form them and share with them. I am highly interested in the fact that you do not see yourself in this blog or perhaps the body image discussion at all I will refer you to the Not Fat Not Thin: The Murky Middle Ground of the Body Image Issue post, that is my story ttp:// I would love to hear yours and I will try to find more topics that touch on the naturally thin.

Comments are closed.