How much is too much? Retouching that is. Yes, this seems like a recurring theme for my blog, but I guess it goes to who I am as a photographer and how I see pictures.
Sports Illustrated unveiled their 2012 Swimsuit issue recently and while I usually really appreciate the production value of this once a year magazine, I feel like they stepped over the line of what make an image feel real and believable. Maybe they expect the viewer to “suspend disbelief” as we are asked so many times while consuming movies and TV and making this magazine believable is not their goal.
I have a little (very little) perspective, having photographed a half dozen or so WWE swimsuit issues over the years. I feel like combining some of the world’s most beautiful women with some of the most accomplished photographers in the world while adding amazing and beautiful locations somehow is enough without all the photoshop.
I’m sure the un-retouched images were beautiful and nearly flawless to begin with (see the video clips on the site, no retouching there, just some color grading and it looks pretty great to me), but they over smoothed these models to the point of looking unreal in the stills. To me the final images look more like pseudo-photo illustrations or cyborgs models.
This is where they lost me. I can’t see past unrealistic looking models They look plastic to me. It’s a real shame, because I’m sure with very little or no retouching, it would have already been wonderful.
Maybe Sports Illustrated can take a step back next year and give us more real looking images and restore some of the realism to the magazine and web sit that used to exist.
Take a look for yourself at the images on their web site here and let me know if I’m over reacting.
The one thing I think Sports Illustrated has lost in all this is the believability. They’ve lost me for sure. When you look at magazines, whether they are home, technology, fashion etc, one of the things I think you want, is to believe in what you see.
Right now I don’t believe much of what Sports Illustrated is delivering in their swimsuit issue and I suspect many people agree with me.
So I ask the question…how much is too much when it comes to retouching?