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"It’s always 'do more, do more'." The frightening confessions of a Photoshop retoucher.

“I don’t think it’s a healthy atmosphere for a young woman to be model right now,” the retoucher told XO Vain.

A professional magazine retoucher has opened up about the bizarre requests he receives from editors and creative directors — claiming he sometimes digitally slims models and celebrities down by about 9kg.

In an interview with beauty website XO Vainthe retoucher — who chose to remain anonymous — said he has been asked to alter everything from fingernails and waist size, to hair colour.

“I’ve got to say, I do generally get asked to retouch women more. It’s always ‘do more, do more, do more’ to the women celebrities than the men,” he told the website. “Male celebrities have actually told us that they don’t want to be retouched at all.”

He also said the biggest request was for women to be slimmed down, and that he sometimes digitally shaves “10, 20 pounds, at least” of his Photoshop subjects.

“With women they always want too thin. They always want thinner waist, thinner legs. And these women are already skinny. Women that you would even think are kind of too thin and they still say, ‘Thin her thighs out a little bit’.”

“You wouldn’t believe the stuff you have to fix on a regular basis. There are disgusting terms that retouchers have coined over the years–‘vagina armpits’ is one.”

“And I’m thinking, What are they seeing? I’m a student of anatomy… I’ll actually look at a current picture of someone before I sit down and do anything–just to make sure that I don’t go too far.”

The retoucher told XO Vain said he’d often changed lipstick colour, and that occasionally digitally created entire fingernails.

“There will be a model that will have absolutely no fingernails–no manicure at all, busted up cuticles and all of that–and I’ll have to shape and render fingernails,” he said.

“We’ve had to put colour on someone’s cheek, eye makeup on their eyes, lipstick on their lips, reshape their eyebrows, lengthen their lashes… because they know what a digital retoucher can do, they take less care (in hair and makeup). We’ve had pictures where hair is a mess–like, all over the place–because “the digital guy will fix it’.”

But despite having carried out all manner of bizarre Photoshop requests, the retoucher believes the blame lies elsewhere.

This model here appeared in a US Target ad with supernaturally extended arms and a clumsily Photoshopped ‘thigh gap‘.

“(M)ost of those kinds of issues don’t originate with the retouchers. It’s all the art directors, the creative directors, even the publicists to an extent,” he told the website.

“(The editors and creative directors) are driven by the advertisers–their opinions are being moulded by clients and the industry itself,” he said.

“It’s something that should change, and I don’t think it’s a healthy atmosphere for a young woman to be model right now.”

On that, at least, we can agree.

Read the original XOVain interview here.

Some of the obvious Photoshop fails we’ve noticed over the years:

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