Skip to content

No Makeup? No Photoshop?

It is quite amazing that in April 2009 we are celebrating French Elle for its issue in which female European celebrities appear with neither makeup nor Photoshop. (It is the latter omission that is attracting much of the attention.) After the recent presidential election where FOX television could assert that NOT retouching Sarah Palin’s face on a Newsweek cover was a campaign issue (seemed to them to be anti-Palin), it is refreshing to see the vestiges of the print empires of the past (at least on the other side of the Atlantic) daring to show a bit more of the person.

As the glaciers melt and economies reel, will this move to photographing more of what’s there be labeled a nostalgia for authenticity? Or does it begin to acknowledge that humanity is bigger than its Image? (Thanks to Damien Saatdjian for the Elle connection.)


  1. Very interesting example, and it should be compared to the current debate about the Danish photographer excluded from a photojournalistic competition for using Photoshop to over-saturate the colours in his images.

    I’ve written more extensively about this issue at

    Friday, April 17, 2009 at 7:39 am | Permalink
  2. sarah wrote:

    (in a somewhat joking, somewhat serious tone)…maybe it was their way to cut costs?! not having to pay for the make-up artists, wardrobe, or post-production.

    whatever the reason, i appreciate what they’ve done, and look forward to the day in which it becomes the norm. (here’s hoping).

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 12:31 am | Permalink
  3. fredritchin wrote:

    It seems that the next step, as with food, is to declare an image of an unretouched person “organic.”

    Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 8:47 pm | Permalink
  4. ohgod wrote:

    Human are just liar.
    I NEVER see until now a magazine where girls are real. Mean photos without makeup and/or without photoshop (or crap software like that), and/or without no retouch.

    ALL cheat.
    But it’s normal since we live in a crazy world where people prefer artificial than natural. Where people love liar and hate honest people.

    Because they say “WOW a magazine without makeup and/or photoshop” people believe that.
    People are idiot and unable to think.

    Saturday, December 18, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. [...] the realm of fashion, French Elle is being celebrated for running a cover story in which the models photographs have not been ‘Photoshopped’ (thereby confirming, as I’ve noted previously, that digital manipulation is the norm in this [...]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *