When photographs of Crystal Renn looking slimmer than usual hit the web, critics called it a "bummer," assuming that she'd lost weight. But new shots offer proof that the pictures — like most fashion images — don't reflect reality.
As Jezebel contributor Jenna stated when the images first went up, "it appears the two shots in question were taken with a wide-angled lens, which tends to distort and stretch subjects." (Jenna also noted that to talk about a friend's weight was "awkward.")
Glamour editor Cindi Leive spoke to Crystal when the model stopped by the office; Leive notes, "She's NOT as skinny as she looks in those pictures."
As for Crystal, she says:
I was shocked. When I saw the pictures, I think I was silent for a good five minutes, staring with my mouth open. I don't know what was done to those photos or who did it, but they look retouched to me. And listen, everybody retouches, but don't make me into something I'm not.
Having had an eating disorder, I know what that very thin body looks like on me, and it's not something I find attractive. It's not something I aspire to.
Upon seeing the behind-the-scenes photo from the shoot (above, in color), Crystal told Leive: "That's what I look like. Yeah!"
So what the hell happened? Photographer Nicholas Routzen was asked to comment, and claimed: "[The photos were] taken from a higher angle with a wider lens." But admitted: "I shaped her…I did nothing that I wouldn't do to anyone. I'm paid to make women look beautiful."
Three huge problems here.
First: Obviously, Crystal Renn is beautiful just the way she is. A photographer "shaping" her — and other models — may be a common practice, but it is completely unnecessary. And if a client hires a model, doesn't that mean the company wants her to look like herself? And not a slimmed-down version?
Second: Unfortunately, this situation forces us to consider the possibility that photographer Nicholas Routzen purposely made Crystal look dramatically thinner in order to draw attention to the images, which promote his nonprofit, Fashion for Passion, a campaign for children and the arts.
Third: As a society, our eyes still register photographs as facts, truths. Despite everything we know about Photoshop, tricks of the light, wide-angled lenses and posing using angles, we still don't immediately assume that pictures lie. Is it up to us to develop a more critical eye? Or should we demand less tampering, obfuscation and alteration?
There is an upside to all this: Crystal is getting even more attention from the fashion industry, booking big jobs and becoming a "name" without having to starve herself. She tells Cindi Leive:
I recently [saw] Karl Lagerfeld, and he said, "Did you lose weight since my show? Don't you lose any weight!" And I remember thinking, "I've actually gained an inch; must be the outfit! But no, don't worry, I won't." And Carine [Roitfeld, the editor of French Vogue] also said to me, "Don't lose weight. You're very beautiful just how you are." That support means so much to me.