Photo-retouching and self-esteem issues in modern day photography

Good morning – here’s a thought to ponder…

I was reading some blog posts from a photographer I admire in Tampa, Florida named Deb Schwedhelm. She was recently discussing the topic of how much retouching is too much retouching in the field of photography. Being a mother she is concerned about the images being portrayed to our youth in the media and what influence we, as photographers, have over this. Here is a video she posted, which I also found quite interesting to make the point of just how much things are being altered:

This is an issue that gets discussed in my home from time to time, as my significant other peers over my shoulder as I remove blemishes from the skin and distracting things in the images for my clients. He always seems appalled and exclaims “I wouldn’t change that, that’s how it looked so you should keep it that way.”

It is a difficult topic but one that should definitely be addressed. When working for a client that has specific demands, photographers tend not to have all the say in the matter. It will depend on the nature of the job and the type of work the photographer is being hired to do. For more artistic work, photographers are usually being hired for their own signature styles and therefore will decide on their own how much retouching is necessary.

Personally, I do agree that things have progressed way too far in the area of alteration for magazine-style photography. Giving people an unrealistic perception of the truth, these images are especially likely to influence young people who can’t grasp the concept that these photos are fake. They are damaging to the self-esteem of little girls who rip out these articles and aspire to look like these women. It has definitely made me look at my own workflow in a different way, and will make me think twice before even making the simplest alterations where they aren’t necessary. I would like to be an advocate of embracing our natural beauty and showcasing it in my work.

What are your feelings about this issue?




One thought on “Photo-retouching and self-esteem issues in modern day photography

  1. Pingback: Assignment 2: Liquify Filter « Shelby Frailey Photo Blog

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