Retouching, as with photography and fashion itself, has always been a slave to trends, and the driving force behind what we as industry professionals produce for our clients has always been what the consumer wants to see. These are forces beyond our control, and it is our part as retouchers to deliver on those expectations.
It seems we barely last a week without reading about the latest retouching controversy, and we need to be aware of changing social attitudes to our output. Fail to evolve and continue to retouch like it’s 1993 and your business will be left behind by the companies you relied upon for your income who will have turned to newer, more current talent.
Outside of the perfect and ultra-stylised world of beauty retouching we have that other commercial behemoth, the fashion industry, and within it there has been a shift towards a more ‘natural’ look. To be clear, the talented retoucher can certainly spend several hours keeping a single shot looking natural and unretouched, but the quick tricks and filters and lazy body-shaping of the past have become obvious and repellant to many in the public.
“When digital photography came of age, and people wanted to push the limits because you could do whatever you wanted with an image in Photoshop. But now, going so far is out of vogue.”
A recent piece from Refinery29 (link below) hit very close to the mark and I wanted to share it with you here. Whether you agree with the trend towards the retention of character marks and ‘flaws’ as a practice, or want a return to the gauche and heavy-handed approach of recent decades, it’s vital to read and understand where the industry is moving, and understand its causes.
You can read the full story of this image, with insights from professionals at Refinery29.