Photoshop Fail. Harper's Bazaar Photoshop Looks Rather Bizarre

Photoshop Fail. Harper's Bazaar Photoshop Looks Rather Bizarre

The general idea of Photoshop is to help make someone look flawless, while still maintaining their unique and human qualities. It's a tactful technique that requires a keen eye and a good understanding of the human face’s shape. This basic concept was completely destroyed for the cover of Harper’s Bazaar China cover featuring actress Sarah Jessica Parker.

The actress touches the cover of the March 2013 issue looking more like a special effects job than an elegant 47 year old celebrity. The eyes are too piercing, the nose is too flat, the face is strangely wide and resembles more of Hollywood's depiction of a little green man than it does a human. As for what is wrong exactly, I'm not sure where to place everything, but perhaps our resident High End Retoucher, Pratik Naik can touch base on what all is wrong with this photo.

This isn't Sarah Jessica Parker’s first time being a victim of terrible Photoshop either. Marie Claire took twenty five years off of her hands back in 2010, and Photoshop took over in her 2012 issue of ELLE Magazine.


So what do you think, is this a terrible Photoshop fail on Harper’s Bazaar’s part, or is Sarah Jessica Parker just out of this world?


[via Huffington Post]

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Well, she does have a unique face to start with.  Some love it, some hate it but it's unique nonetheless.  When you start taking out the obvious features like the darkness from under eyes and trying to cover up some obvious plastic surgery, it's just going to look weird.   It's a cool image with all of the colors and texture but it's a little overdone on the face.  Cut the retouch layer opacity to 50% to show SOME of the real qualities.

She's just really that ugly.  Even PS couldn't help.

doesnt her hand on her hip look weird? and it looks like they put her head on another body. big head like a caricature  

Mariia Kravtsova's picture

Parents can use this picture to scare children with if they don't behave. 

That's crazy! Harper's Bazaar featured a picture of a horse on its cover? They must be widening their demographic.

The image receives 5 neighs.

SJP always seems to be a victim of 'Photoshop Disasters' quite often. One has to wonder if she has a difficult bone structure to really improve upon based on certain angles. She has a 'hit or miss' face where the shot has to be great prior to post work to make the end result work. If you google SJP into google images, you'll see how either she has a great shot or it's really bad.  

As many people have picked up from other comments I've seen, I think this shot (regardless of post) should not have made the cover. Even before getting to the retouching, the expression and pose are stiff and don't put her in the best light. The awkward looking hand on her hip, or even the width of her wrist just barely going out of the frame don't help either. The choice of makeup itself also compounds the problem. I have a feeling that prior to retouching, the feeling we get looking at the end result may follow the same tune. 

Rich Meade's picture

Well, my point of view is...

It's SJP's fault...
Virtually every celebrity has some sort of Approval clause on every photo shoot they do... My guess is, She selected the image and gave a laundry list of things to "fix".  I wouldn't doubt that this image went through probably 10 revisions before SJP signed off on it.

It's not bad photoshop... it's bad client choices.  Every retoucher has gone through this kind of situation where the client (in this case SJP having approval) requests something terribly unrealistic.
It's just unfortunate that the blame defaults to the retoucher.  But I don't think they (retoucher) are in any danger of losing their job...particularly for doing what the client requests.

Michael Miller's picture

Go look at all the rest of her images. She just looks this way. This is not bad photoshop at all. It's pretty typical photoshop. You probably don't like the way she photographs, as many don't. But this is in fact how she looks. She is pretty wrinkled in real life but her facial structure does not look to have been changed in this image.

Roland Hernandez's picture

I thought this was an ad for Budweiser.. ;]

I am actually a fan of SJP, and I really feel sorry for her.....if she truly had to sign off on this creation, just makes me feel even more sorry for her. Honestly this obsession of looking  young has got everybody and their brother photo shopping themselves into plastic, or running to their nearest and dearest plastic surgeon.  It's happening to men as well as woman.... Bruce Jenner comes to mind and his god awful plastic surgery. Seriously, faces with at least a little bit of aging adds much needed character .... Hopefully this article will teach Photoshop heavy photographers to reign themselves in, or tell the client the truth.

Tracy Nanthavongsa's picture

I actually think it looks perfect!

Aside from the weirdness of the retouch, the softness of the edges around the hair and waist smacks of a dodgy photoshop composite too.

Aside from the weirdness of the retouch, the softness of the edges around the hair and waist smacks of a dodgy photoshop composite too.

Alvaro Calix's picture

Overall the picture looks more like it was retouched by someone who is just learning Photoshop and recently discovered the Liquify tool. SJP has a lot of detractors, but also lots of fans, however, the woman in this magazine cover hardly resembles SJP in any way or form.
This is a great example nonetheless that you have to be careful with your retouching work and try to aim the most "natural" look  possible.

I like the face.  yes it a bit over done but she an ugly woman in the face anyway.  But look at the left hand and wrist.  Most def something wrong with that. 

there's a horsemeat crisis in europe at the moment. maybe they were just raising awareness?

Did Kelly-Anne Marie do this...The Texas Troll is at it again...No Bedpost please. I bring my own sex props to a shoot. MM's worst Troll. 

Erika Rock's picture

um. i think i am the only person who finds nothing wrong with this. she looks gorgeous and just like herself. 

Why is Harper's China doing a story on Seabiscuit?

christian lacasse's picture

Is this a joke? Everyone who worked on this cover should be very sorry.

Tony Guillaro's picture

Hey I give the guy props....When you can turn a Horse face women into something slightly attractive you have my respect!!  

Wow...the whole thing is a shame...what's wrong with the way she looks in the first place?

Lot of artistic license taken here.

Timuçin HIZAL's picture

LOL. Not just face. Look at the hand!

Where is 6th finger? 

beware of the mutants!!!

I know a number of 'photographers' that will shoot an image, then enhance the eyes to look like there's a supernova going off behind the photographer and add the 'wet nose' look, extreme highlights to the bridge and line of the nose to make the face look stronger and burn in the shadow under the cheek bones. This is not photography. BUT the sad state of the industry is that at least up to a certain level people don't notice the difference and just think it's a nice picture. So anyone can take an average shot and then be a wizard in photoshop or pay some guy in another country to retouch for them and bam...happy client.
I'd like to think there are clients, and editors out there that see these images for what they are and then hire the real photographers who will do the job right to start with so that minimal retouching is needed. Look all around flickr and facebook and you will see plastic skin everywhere, mostly with positive comments and some of these people will be the next photographers to work for Harpers and the like in the future.  Why hire a makeup artist for a day when you can just paint it all on afterwards, well hey that just saved the client a few hundred quid !!
Sorry, do I sound bitter !!
By the way, I would have had a makeup artist touch up SJP's lips a little so they didn't look so overly injected. And if you're going to comp an image on to a back ground do a better job with the hair instead of just blurring the edges a little.