In the era where Photoshop is easier to use than a camera, heavy retouching seems the standard on every photo. Retouching has become so affordable, than it is becoming a question of morality more than the ability to do something. At Faby and Carlo we have always said that retouching should be like salt and pepper in a dish; you should enhance the taste that is already there, without covering it.
Today we will focus on three miracle many retoucher can do on a photograph; however, we will look at them from our subjects’ perspective. We won’t tell you how these retouching miracles can be achieved; we will tell you why excessive retouching go against everything Boudoir stands for.
1. Remove my scars
While analysing the three retouching miracles which are foes more than they are friends, we want to start with something simple; How difficult do you think removing a scar from your skin can be? I would say that it can take, to a professional hand, less than ten seconds. It is that simple, but is it worth it?
The scar that I have on my skin are not the indication of ferocious battles. They are part of my history. On my left brow I have a cut I did to myself falling from my bike when I was five years old. On my right brow the scar was left by a hockey stick when I was a teenager. I still remember some of the moments when it happened. Nothing serious, yet part of me.
Retouching my scars to make them disappear won’t fix them in real life. The stitches will still be there every morning, and I will still see the lines where I bumped my head on the kitchen floor when I was a toddler. So why do you think that removing them from your photos is a good thing? Yes, we can do it, it takes very little to make them disappear; do they really need to go? Scars are part of who we are, and retouching them out will create a detachment between the woman you are and the one you see in a photo.
2. Make my skin flawless
When we pick up a magazine from the shelves, we always wonder how some actress seems to be untouched by time. Their skin look like they are having a second youth in their fifties. You can certainly give the cream they are sponsoring credit for it; you can also think that they have money to spend on their beauty treatments; or you can simply realise that they look so young because their skin looks better than the one of a newborn. Creating a flawless skin requires good retouching skills. It is not a ten second job, nor is something easy to do, but it can be done nonetheless. This is why high-end studios can make it happen, while high street photographer seems to create plastic skins.
I understand you don’t like seeing your age lines. It is totally understandable; however, I would like one of the best Italian actress of the ‘50s, Anna Magnani. She was known for telling their makeup artists not to cover her wrinkles, as it took her a lifetime to have them. Wrinkles, small skin imperfections and age lines are things we will all have, or will sooner or later get. Our society seems to think that they are the indication of being old, which seems something unacceptable. There are cultures for which growing old is just the next step, something natural, but we are part of our culture. We do not have to silently accept it. When I look at my receding hairline, I often blame my thoughts, which are taking away all the nutrients.
3. Make me few sizes smaller
I can comfortably say that the number of women I photographed who are completely happy with their body shape can be counted in the fingers of my hands. We would all like something different, and the more we have of one thing the less we would like. The less we have of another, the more we would love. Try and speak with a woman with a very large breast, and they will almost always tell you they are “too much”; however, have a chat with a woman with no boobs, and they will tell you they would love few cups more. The same goes for the bum, the stomach -ohhh, the stomach…- and virtually every other part of the body. Retouching and reshaping is again fairly simple. There are tricks and tips, but there is very little that can’t be done.
As for the previous two retouching miracles, my main question is not about feasibility. Everything is doable, but this third retouching magic is, more than the previous, a drug that can have very bad counter effects. See yourself with a perfect hourglass shape, down to a size 8 from a size 12; you know what’s really dangerous about this? It is that you will end up replacing your self image with the one that has been retouched. Every time you will look at yourself in the mirror you will find yourself less than you can be. For the vast majority of women this will be a huge blow to their confidence.
Imagine waking up in a body two sizes bigger than today. I am sorry, the retouching so achieved is nothing about self confidence. It is about self body shaming in real life.
Retouching and Boudoir: our stand
Retouching has always been used and always will. My key question is what level of retouching is the right “salt and pepper” for you? I am very much drawn to real images, where retouching is minimal to say the least. I feel that those images will leave much longer than any one heavily retouched. A good boudoir session is an investment, so why don’t you make it right? Confidence and retouching do not play together well. The human brain realises that there are things that “don’t go” when it sees a reshaped image. Boudoir is about confidence, so why undermining it with the need of seeing yourself different from the beautiful woman you are?
We also offer the #unretouchedbeauty experience, which is exactly this: you, without any retouching. Would you ever consider it?