The aftermath of last week's Dove "Campaign for Real Beauty" photo retouching scandal remains unclear. It all started with retoucher Pascal Dangin telling the New Yorker that he had cleaned up photos for the campaign featuring ostensibly "Real" women, which would be a hugely hypocritical move. Dove, their ad agency, and celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz all denied it, saying they did nothing to the pictures except "to remove dust and do color correction." Today, Ad Age tries to decide whether or not the fiasco will hurt Dove—and the company is still stonewalling, while the New Yorker is standing by (most of) its story.
Everyone employed by Dove "declined to elaborate on what the "color correction entailed," and declined to respond by deadline to phone calls or e-mails to a report from a person familiar with the matter that Mr. Dangin had admitted specifically to removing veins from the images of the women," reports Ad Age. Meanwhile, the New Yorker says that the only inaccurate thing in its story is that it said Dangin retouched photos of women in "undergarments," while in fact he retouched women in nude photos—which would mean he worked on Dove's celebrate-your-natural-body Pro-Age ads, shot by Annie Leibovitz.
It's apparent that the company is hoping that the whole thing will blow over with no lasting effects. And it surely may. But with the New Yorker standing firm, it's hard to take Dove at face value. Here are two of the ads in question: