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  • Sam Darling


How many of my fellow singer/actor people out there use Adobe Photoshop on their headshots and publicity stills?

My Gallery features some lovely photos by Owen Allison, Christian Grattan, and several other talented photographers. And, of course, any photographer worth his salt will know and love the amazing plasticity of Photoshop. Here’s a photo of me totally unchanged.


Yes, I can happily admit that I sometimes use the magic of Photoshop on some of my own photos. I’ve used it to erase flyaway hair and tame some less-than-perfect wrinkly clothes that made an unflattering droopy pooches. [That alabaster skin? That skin is all mine and it really does look like that. The angels weep with envy.]

With outstanding photography skills, well managed lighting, make-up, flattering clothes, and a gentle hand with Photoshop you see the desired result: Me, at my best. Or my goofiest.

The problem, of course, is that media will overuse a good thing. They will take this tool and create a false reality, a constructed beauty that cannot exist and cannot be attained. I won’t get into the whole legality of it, [not qualified to get into an ethics discussion], but the case of the L’Oreal ads last year were a perfect example of way too much retouching. Julia Roberts looked plastic in those advertisements. Julia, bless her, also has flawless skin in real life… they didn’t need to overdo it and turn her into Actroid-F.

When Photoshop is overused it lends itself to parody. This recent one, Fotoshop by Adobé, was spot on. I think it’s a sharp criticism of the beauty industry more than the software package itself, but maybe I’m wrong.

I’m curious how many of you retouch your photos and how much “perfecting” you think is appropriate.

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