We recently came upon this gallery of before-and-after images of a few well known celebrities as seen in fashion magazines and large scale advertising campaigns. These are, it would seem, examples of just how far an image can be taken in post to make it usable for publication or advertising use. While the value of these photographs could be debated for days (some will say they're worthless, that the retouching is horrible, that this kind of stuff is rotting the minds of our youth, etc, not that I disagree...) I think it is incredibly interesting to see just how far an image can be taken by a retoucher. Do note, however, that it isn't the retoucher who chooses to take things this far, but usually the art director, so please refrain from lighting up the torches and getting out the pitchforks and pillaging the homes of your local retouchers.
Some of these photos are scans of magazines, so you'll have to forgive the quality, but I think the point gets across. This kind of retouching seems most prevalent in the celebrity world, as I don't often see retouching to these extremes done with images by photographers I know, though I will admit to not being incredibly well-versed on the ins and outs of fashion and glamour retouching for celebrity beauty mags. Would love to hear from photographers or retouchers to hear how common this type of work is.