In an effort to show the younger generation it’s not “right” or “normal” to look perfect all the time, actress Kate Winslet announced earlier this month she will no longer allow one of her biggest sponsors, cosmetic maker Lancome, to Photoshop or retouch her images in any way, according to the variety news source Timeline.com.
Winslet announced the decision at an Elle Women in Hollywood event.
“It does feel important to me, because I do think we have a responsibility to the younger generation of women,” Winslet said. “I think they do look to women who have been successful in their chosen careers and they want people to look up to, and I would always want to be telling the truth about who I am to that generation because they’ve got to have strong leaders. We’re all responsible for raising strong young women, so these are things that are important to me.”
While Winslet is hopeful other influential public figures will take the same sort of vow, photo retouching and manipulation has gone on for virtually as long as photographs have been around. In fact, the Timeline.com piece goes through various famous and infamous examples of photo editing throughout history many may not even be aware of.
Photo editing companies have come a long way in their approach and technology. Nowadays there are numerous apps and software to help even the amateur photographer develop professional quality pictures.
“We are careful to make our retouching look natural while at the same time deliver the best result for our clients,” says David Sinai, President/Co-Founder, Picsera. “Winslet has a good point, current pop culture may be taking retouching too far. However, there will always be a place for professional retouching. Portrait, product, event and real estate photographers can turn to our retouching expertise for help and guidance.”
One of the very first altered photos in American history, for example, is of Abraham Lincoln. The very photo that inspired his portrait on the $5 bill was actually only his head, and the body it was resting on belonged to Confederate supporter and politician John C. Calhoun.
One of the most infamous examples of photo manipulation unsurprisingly involved the Soviet Union. One of Josef Stalin’s closest confidantes was secret police chief Nikolai Yezhov. After he eventually found his way onto Stalin’s bad side, he himself was ‘tried’ and executed. Afterwards, he was removed from a well-known photo of Stalin and himself walking side-by-side along a waterfront. Yezhov and the picture became known as “The Vanishing Commissar.”
Some would argue every photograph only captures part of any story, which is true, but people like Winslet might give the next generation the strength and courage to live more comfortably in their own skin.