Glamour Pledges To Tone Down Its Use Of Photo Retouching

The squeaky wheel really does get the grease. After asking its readers for their opinions about what role Photoshop should play in creating the images in magazines, the people at Glamour have decided to take a stand against overzealous retouching in the photos they publish.

That stand starts with the March issue, which also debuts the title’s new redesign. Editor-in-chief Cindi Leive reported the findings of the magazine’s retouching survey, which asked 1,000 Glamour readers how they feel about retouching, in a blog post today. For the most part, the responses indicated that a little Photoshopping to erase blemishes and wrinkles in clothing is OK. In fact, 77 percent of the respondents are comfortable with erasing pimples, and 75 percent said using the eraser tool on stray hairs is fine. But only 22 percent of respondents said it was OK to use Photoshop and other retouching techniques to make someone look five pounds thinner.

Leive’s points out that 60 percent of women surveyed thought it was OK to use Photoshop in their Facebook photos, but acknowledges that there should be a different standard for magazines and advertisers, and anyone else who uses altered images to move product or turn a profit. Which is why she’s publishing the following pledge in the March issue — and she says she plans to stick to it.

Yes, we DO do it—and so do most fashion publications in the age of digital photography, since retouching includes everything from darkening a sky so a headline reads better to keeping models’ nipples from showing through a shirt (done in our March issue—twice!). But as your responses make clear, retouching has its limits—or should—and Glamour plans to take a stronger role in setting ours. You told us you don’t want little things like freckles and scars removed, and we agree; those are the kinds of details that make each woman on the planet unique and beautiful. And while our policy has always been not to alter a woman’s body shape, we’ll also be asking photographers we hire not to manipulate body size in the photos we commission, even if a celebrity or model requests a digital diet (alas, it happens). “I believe Glamour should take an active role in encouraging unretouched photos,” says Jessica Gordon, 29, of Los Angeles. “It has to start somewhere.”

We tip our hats to Leive and everyone at Glamour for making a commitment to not altering the shape of women’s bodies. It’s not an altogether Photoshop ban, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

You can read the full results of Glamour‘s survey here.


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