September's Harper's Bazaar is 110 editorial pages of beautiful contradictions. Is fall about the 40s or the 80s? Do all black women roam the African savannah, or do some of them also sing in jazz clubs? Photoshop: Pro or con?
Peter Lindbergh shot an entire editorial without recourse to that particular computer program, except for minor color-correction. Kristen McMenamy, Tatjana Patitz, Nadja Auermann, Claudia Schiffer, et. al., also posed without any hair products or makeup.
And they predictably look fantastic. Does this spread in any way address the constant barrage of unrealistically altered images of women in the fashion media? Only obliquely, at best. And the skincare peg — all the models are shilling their supposed favorite spas and products — is a little annoying. I worry sometimes that these non-Photoshopped editorials are becoming more of a stunt than a corrective; French Elle had one, also shot by Lindbergh, and even Life & Style ran a Photoshop-free cover, of Kim Kardashian. How awesome would it be for a fashion magazine to state, as a matter of editorial policy, that excessive and unrealistic retouching will never find a home in its pages? That adjusting the white balance in post-production is fine, but that rhinoplasty-by-liquify-tool and 80 gazillion layers of changes are not? That would be a magazine worth buying.