I was recently scrolling through British Vogue’s website (one of my favorite pastimes) when I stumbled across an interview with portrait photographer Mario Testino.

I have been an avid Testino fan for many years, especially after I experienced his exhibition ‘Portraits’ at The National Portrait Gallery in London in 2002. However, something caught my eye within the interview, regarding the notion of retouching within the photography industry. A close friend shared a unique point of view concerning retouching with Testino …

“The new generation has access to all these tools where you can retouch everything yourself on your phone… I talk to girls who put their selfie’s on their Instagram; they retouch everything, and that’s their prerogative. I mean, people put on makeup, dye their hair, [get] fake teeth, contact lenses. Why not?” (Testino)

Testino is not a huge fan of retouching, it can be seen that he prefers to maintain natural artifacts “To me, something without flaws isn’t exciting. Perfection I find quite boring because it’s not real. It doesn’t have a consequence at the end of the day.” (Testino)

Testino is currently working with Dove in their new campaign, which he describes as “ Working on inclusion.” He goes on to say, “When you retouch skin to perfection, you are excluding a lot of people who could never get to that [ideal]. By allowing all those things to exist, you’re opening that door to make a lot of people believe they are beautiful as well.”

The practice of retouching seems to always get such bad press, yet when I read this interview, it did make me think a lot. We retouch ourselves everyday, through the countless beauty products that are available to us. We want to look our very ‘best’ when we have our photo taken, but why is make up so much more acceptable than digital retouching? If retouching is so demeaning to individuals in the masking of ‘truths’ then why don’t we stand in front of the camera with no make up on? Is this not a little contradictory?



Work Cited

Regensdorf, Laura. "A Legendary Fashion Photographer Talks Real Beauty, Retouching, and Body Positivity on Instagram." Vogue. Vogue, 04 Mar. 2017. Web. 17 Mar. 2017.