Oh the world of high end retouching. This week cosmetic company Dior released a new video and ad campaign featuring their hot spokeswoman, Jennifer Lawrence. With a not so subtle nod to Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, this new lipstick commercial isn't so bad upon first watch. Social media has gone ablaze however once screen grabs from the video have been making their way across the internet. Where are Jennifer's eyelids! We have the behind the scenes video to see where things went wrong.
It's a century long debate: should retouching be used to make a perfect photograph, or is using Photoshop irresponsible because it promotes unobtainable beauty? I think most photographers would argue that retouching programs like Photoshop are just another tool which allows us to create the best art we can. Art is subjective and saying all art should be 100% real completely misses the point of art, ESPECIALLY art used for marketing and selling.
The below photograph has sparked yet another debate about retouching in advertising. The image appears to be a high res image pulled from the original Red video capture (can you tell the difference between video photos and normal photos?). What is making retouchers around the world so upset is how sloppy the retouching has been executed. Disgruntled Dior fans have even adopted the twitter hashtag #allthephotoshop to bring attention to this atrocity.
The reasonable thing to ask when looking at this image is "are Jennifer's alien eyes a result of bad Photoshop, fake video retouching, or the makeup application itself?"
Photographers and retouchers get a bad reputation because the public is so quick to point out that images can be manipulated into perfection with the swipe of a mouse. However, as we photographers know, hair styling and makeup can actually make more of an impact on someone's natural beauty well beyond what is typically done in post processing. A great makeup artist can easily make skin almost flawless well before the first strobe light is fired by the photographer. And since Dior is a makeup company, perhaps people should be outraged by the makeup application rather than "All The Photoshop." Let's take a look at the behind the scenes video.
Here are a few screen captures from the behind the scenes video to consider:
In all three of these images you can clearly see realistic shadows under Jennifer's eyes. Her skin looks flawless but natural, and I think it is safe to say that any photographer would be super excited if this was the result of their makeup artist's work. So if the plastic looking images from the current Dior commercial isn't caused by the makeup itself, who is to blame for making the footage look like it was passed through a clarity filter set to -100?
Perhaps we will never know for certain if it was the fault of the photographer, his retouching team, the advertising agency's retouching team, or even the video editors responsible for the final video render. What we do know is there needs to be a higher standard for commercial productions like this one from Dior. With all the controversy surrounding retouching human faces and bodies in advertisements, it's pretty easy to see why so many non photographers are outraged by these ridiculous looking images released to the public as "real people". If you have any thoughts on this latest ad campaign gone wrong, leave them in the comments below.
If you have not scene the entire video, here is the ad causing the controversy among retouchers.