Slimmed thighs, whittled waists, smoothed skin: Digitally altered women were de rigueur in the 00s. There were many, many Photoshop Of Horrors images to choose from, but these are the 15 most egregious examples of image retouching in this decade.
15. Russian Glamour, June 2009
Beyoncé's skin looked digitally darkened on the cover of Russian Glamour — and the editors had a guide! A magazine called Joy used the same shot in December 2007. Was something lost in translation? Save your "black Russian" jokes until the end.
13. Vogue, November 2009
The cast of Nine is chock-full of gorgeous women, but this shot is a mindscramble of random rays of sunlight in hair and dresses with edges so sharp they look like they're for paper dolls. As I wrote in October: "I'm guessing [Annie] Leibovitz shot them each separately and then did a composite, but when you have a person who doesn't cast a shadow on the lady next to her, then that person is a vampire." Poor Kate Hudson looks like she was slapped on as an afterthought.
12. Complex, April/May 2009
Kim Kardashian's waist was cinched, her thighs were slimmed, her skin skin smoothed out and her hairline was cleaned up. Plus, her head appears to be a different shape in the "after" image. Who would have thought a skull could be made "sexier"?
11. Self, September 2009
Kelly Clarkson's "Total Body Confidence" came from digitally slimming her waist and behind. Two Self editors explained that the cover: "is not, as in a news photograph, journalism. It is, however, meant to inspire women to want to be their best."
10. King Arthur poster, 2004
Movie marketers felt they must, they must, they must increase the bust. Ironically, Keira Knightley told the Guardian that she lost her chest, doing archery and preparing for the role:
To fight, convincingly, shoulder to shoulder, she had to do that thing that is so de rigueur, which is totally to change your body shape. "I was about three times the size I am now. It worried me, but it was cool, it was a body that was doing what it should do. I haven't got a clue because I don't weigh myself, but it was all muscle and I was big. My neck disappeared. My chest flattened even more. It wasn't the most feminine thing in the world, but it worked for the part, because there was strength there, and it was needed."
Of course, Hollywood can't imagine a world in which people would see a movie starring an athletic, flat-chested woman. So a digital boob job followed.
9. Redbook, July 2007
The crazy thing about the Faith Hill Redbook cover is not that it was Photoshopped — it's that this is the standard amount of digital altering that goes into a cover. Unlike some true Photoshop disasters, there are no alarming mistakes here to tip you off. That makes it easy to accept the retouched image without even blinking. Faith Hill is a beautiful woman. But she needed 11 different kinds of alterations before she could be on the cover of Redbook. What a world.
8. Campari calendar, 2008
Jessica Alba: Just another woman whose real body wasn't good enough. In this case, her waist needed to be nipped in so she could shill liquor.
6. Redbook, June 2003
Jennifer Aniston's head was placed on to Jennifer Aniston's body — from another photo shoot. At the time, her publicist, Steven Huvane, said: "It's a combination of three pictures. If you're going to do it, then at least match her head up to her body, and make the neck look like it belongs to her. I still can't figure out which exact picture the face came from." A Redbook spokeswoman downplayed the changes: "The only things that were altered in the cover photo were the color of her shirt and the length of her hair, very slightly, in order to reflect her current length."
The neck does look alarmingly unreal, and her head and waist are out of sync somehow. Angelina is surely to blame.
5.Redbook, July 2003
The month after the Aniston debacle, Redbook was at it again: According to USA Today, "[Julia's] head comes from a paparazzi shot taken at the 2002 People's Choice awards. Her body, meanwhile, is from the Notting Hill movie premiere [in 1999]." Julia's publicist, Marcy Engelman, said, at the time: "It's a shame they didn't use the body that went with the head, because it was a great Giorgio Armani pantsuit (that she wore to the People's Choice awards)."
4. Newsweek, March 2005
The editors used Martha's head and a model's body, because Ms. Stewart was still in jail when the issue was being put together. It wasn't supposed to be a photograph, anyway, it was art: "The piece that we commissioned was intended to show Martha as she would be, not necessarily as she is,'' Lynn Staley, assistant managing editor at Newsweek, told The New York Times. Staley acknowledged that the cover carried a disclaimer: ''In this case, we identified this piece as a photo illustration." As Martha would say, it's a "good thing" you did.
3. Seventeen, May 2003
Think about all the Buffy plots which could have been orchestrated around Sarah Michelle Gellar's weird wrist appendage over there on the left, if her arm actually looked like that.
2. GQ, February 2003.
Some people saw Titanic over and over again — but they never saw those legs, on the left. Kate Winslet was pissed about being trimmed down on this cover, saying:
"The retouching is excessive. I do not look like that and more importantly I don't desire to look like that. I actually have a Polaroid that the photographer gave me on the day of the shoot… I can tell you they've reduced the size of my legs by about a third. For my money it looks pretty good the way it was taken."
1. Ralph Lauren Blue Label ad, October 2009
In which model Filippa Hamilton was turned into a string of spaghetti.