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Latest Photoshop controversy ensnares Justin Bieber

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› Latest Photoshop controversy ensnares Justin Bieber
  • Published on January 16, 2015

Most allegations of excessive Photoshop retouching tend to involve females, making it interesting that this most recent controversy involves the male celebrity Justin Bieber. Many recent Photoshop controversies have involved models, with publishers of fashion magazines and catalogs trying to sculpt them into unrealistic visions of perfection. Retailer Target’s Photoshop controversy involved an unnamed model, while other instances involve celebrities being retouched before their publication in magazine news stories. It’s becoming so commonplace than many celebrity females pictures are often labeled as having been Photoshopped before they are shared on social networks, as they are accused of digitally removing weight or create a more perfect figure.

In this most recent Photoshop controversy, Justin Bieber, was hired to serve as a model for Calvin Klein. Once the ad campaign was made public, a website claimed that the images being used were retouched, and posted images they claimed were the originals from the photo shoot. The alleged originals showed a less muscular, less masculine Bieber, suggesting the Photoshop was used to improve Bieber’s physique.

The accusations of manipulation in Photoshop caused a sensation across the Internet, and even caused the venerable New York Times to write about whether Justin Bieber’s manliness is real or a Photoshop illusion.

Apparently Bieber takes claims against his masculinity quite seriously, as the website that had posted the purported original images received word of pending action from his attorney, and removed the alternative version of the images.

Creating high-quality images where the retouching isn’t noticeable is a highly skilled art form. This is why so many altered images are easily noticed. While there are millions of Photoshop users, highly skilled professional photo retouchers are in demand. American Graphics Institute offers a Photoshop retouching course for those who already have basic skills with the application. Participants come from a range of backgrounds, including retailers, makeup companies, and fashion companies. The goal with retouching is to improve the image, and make any enhancements so they can’t be perceived by the viewer. Skilled Photoshop retouchers find their work going unnoticed, and don’t see their work questioned online or in the New York Times, as they make subtle enhancements while still maintaining the spirit of the original image.

About the author

 is a user experience designer, Photoshop expert, educator and author based in Boston. She is the author of more than 20 books on design tools and processes, including Adobe Creative Cloud for Dummies, Adobe Creative Cloud Digital Classroom, and Photoshop Digital Classroom. She has been awarded a Microsoft MVP three times for her work with user experience design in creating apps for touch, desktop, and mobile devices.

Jennifer delivers UX training and UX consulting for large Fortune 100 companies, small start-ups, and independent software vendors. She has been hired by Adobe and Microsoft to deliver training workshops to their staff, and has traveled to Asia, Europe, India, the Middle East, and across the U.S. to deliver courses and assist on UX design projects. She has extensive knowledge of modern Windows UX Design, having worked closely with the Windows team to create educational material and deliver UX workshops to key partners globally on behalf of Microsoft. Jennifer works with a wide range of prototyping tools including Fireworks, Photoshop, Illustrator, Blend for Visual Studio, and Balsamiq.