There’s an elephant in the room when it comes to retouching, and that’s the debate on whether images should be retouched at all and, if so, how much retouching is too much?
Expert retoucher Dominique Fraser of retouching advice site Je Suis Fabuleuse draws a distict line between the work of professional retouchers working in the fashion and beauty industries and the kind of retouching work seen on gossip websites and magazines, and is keen to put across the point of view of an industry professional in this debate.
“Retouching techniques and styles are in constant evolution these days,” she explains. “On one hand you can see there is a very natural and authentic approach. Just take a look at Cate Blanchett’s eye wrinkles in the new Si fragrance ad or Kate Winslet’s Lancôme ad with her not so perfect skin and lines on her neck. I like to call this new trend Retouchethics. I love this! I also really appreciate that we tend to see more ‘girl next door’ or ‘plus size’ models in ads and with the Beyonce/JLo revolution, curves are appreciated and this is easier for women to relate to.
“We rarely see criticism on this style of retouching. Professional retouchers rarely do ‘too much’ retouching, they will follow the trends and will adapt their style to what the people want.
“But on the other hand there are those examples of bad retouching, where the retoucher has done ‘too much’. People everywhere love a good scandal but almost always those scandals are based on very amateur creations or were old images done ten years ago when things were very different.
“Photo retouching has been hidden for too long. It should not be considered a bad thing, instead it should be thought of as a wonderful tool, and when used properly and for the right reasons, it can showcase and help celebrate the human body and nature.”
Next time: Find out more about Retouchethics and Dominique’s career advice for would-be pro retouchers.
Dominique Fraser is an expert retoucher and the founder of Sublim Creative Studio and Je Suis Fabuleuse. Her clients include Giorgio Armani and Moet & Chandon. Dominique Fraser portrait photography: David Cannon
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