The Dove "Campaign for Real Beauty" photo retouching controversy was left as an unresolved disagreement between truth-in-advertising purists and photo professionals who say retouching is a necessity. Television and movies may be moving in the opposite direction; a lighter touch with makeup is needed in the face of exacting HD cameras. But for print ads of all kinds, the wonders of Photoshop manipulation will prevail. James Danziger, the photo gallerist who represents celebrity image producer Annie Leibovitz, weighs in with a cogent postscript to the Dove controversy and its legacy: "We are living in both the digital age and the age of hypocrisy.":
Any photograph used in a magazine, a billboard, an album cover, whatever - can only be presumed to be a photo-based illustration. The issue, which Dove's well-intentioned campaign addressed, is the effect these illustrations have on the psyche, self-esteem, and well-being of women (in particular) not to mention the unrealistic view men might have of women. It brings to mind the shock the eminent Victorian art critic John Ruskin experienced upon discovering his wife's pubic hair, after which he was unable to consummate the marriage. Divorce followed shortly.
The hypocrisy that Dove is now being accused of is understandable but perhaps not of a Spitzerian magnitude. However, it is compounded by the fact that the product their ads were pushing were skin firming, cellulite reducing creams. Oh the double standards! So perhaps we should agree that we are living in both the digital age and the age of hypocrisy.