Did Target Lie About Going Photoshop-Free in Their Latest Ad Campaign?

Did Target Lie About Going Photoshop-Free in Their Latest Ad Campaign?

Earlier today, we posted about Target forgoing the use of Photoshop in their latest ad campaign, when one of our eagle-eyed readers pointed out that it may not be true that Target went Photoshop-free, which would not be the first time the company was caught in such a fiasco.

Target has been criticized for their use and misuse of Photoshop in the past, including anything from excessive use of Liquify on teenage girls to literally giving models three hands. Their latest ad campaign, #TargetSwim, seeks to re-normalize cultural expectations of women's bodies by not using Photoshop to modify the models. Each of the four models have posted sponsored Instagram images with hashtags such as "#unretouched," but there appear to be signs of such usage after all. Take a look at the two images below:

Of course, the motivation for doing subtle adjustments is clear: Target can play into prevailing cultural expectations of ideal female proportions while still appearing to carry a more progressive agenda, essentially taking advantage of unconscious norms and expectations held by the viewer. The company's history of excessive and controversial usage of Photoshop certainly doesn't help their case. What do you think? Is Target trying to fool us?

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Sure they still used PS. We never get from a camera what the eye and the brain extrapolates and I doubt we ever will.
They should really use it on the second image because it is underexposed. IMHO


Damn, people, haven't you ever heard of a singularity before? Instead of judging Target for their ostensible tendency to be deceitful, manipulative, hypocritical sellouts, we should be more concerned about the fact that time and space is being bent to such an alarming degree within such close proximity to these models.

omg LOL not everyday that you read an fstoppers article and see a photo of your friend (Kamie Crawford at the bottom)

It's not the singularity... Kamie clearly blames Mexican craftsmanship:

The model might actually be right. The pool is on the ocean side of the hotel, so it wouldn't be in the background with the mountains, as above.


I dunno about that wavy line, but that shape that people are saying is the pool just looks like the building roof to me.

Think that Target meant it to apply the statement to changing how people look to fit someone else's idea of beauty. Neither of these examples make that a lie.

Why is there two articles posted on this?

Can someone explain why the circled areas are suspected of being Photoshopped?

Yeah, I'm not so sure, the warped roof in the last one could easily be from looking through some dodgy glass at such an angle. The other two don't look like much to me at all.

A bunch of conspiracy theories all over this article and on instagram. we really need to cut all this fake news

Yeah, the first under-arm "retouch" is really clutching at straws...what a joke.

The second image...I'm with Rob, dodgy glass is likely the cause of the weird bending. The spot on the arm does look like the result you get when the healing tool goes awry on a hard / contrasty edge. But the images are such low res, it's probably just the background creeping out from behind her.

Any comment from Target?

Nothing yet!

This perfectly illustrates the fact that "retouching" and post-production is being discussed in popular culture as "Yes" or "No" -- which we know is not the case. We've developed the Retouchers Accord to try and bring the industry together to make guidelines on how to balance body confidence with the practical aspects of the business. Would love input from anyone interested! www.retouchersaccord.com and here is a piece that aired in Mashable yesterday: http://mashable.com/2017/03/27/retouchers-accord-photoshop-body-positivity/

The balcony shot has just had a lens blur applied to a dodgy selection. Bad work yeah but nothing to shoot the messenger for.

I'm going out on a limb here and say that it's iPhone 7 portrait mode (Bokeh fakery) I've seen some bad masking ok not that bad, but noticeable. I'm sure the models aren't totally aware of it. Or maybe they are aware but don't care.

Target can Photoshop the heck out of their photos and I could care less. I don't shop there anymore since they went all PC and let anyone use whatever bathroom they "identify" with. Sorry but I am not going to let my daughter use a bathroom with some dude who decides to dress like a woman.