The Irresistible Allure Of Unretouched Madonna Photos

Illustration for article titled The Irresistible Allure Of Unretouched Madonna Photos

And who keeps leaking the "before" shots of Madonna photo shoots?

The new leaks from last year's Louis Vuitton campaign are the latest in a subgenre of leaked photos of her before the digital interventions that make any woman — but especially one over 50 — magazine-ready. Why her more than anyone else?


The Vuitton campaign was shot by Steven Meisel, breaking a streak of leaked Madonna photos in the last year or so that were photographed by Steven Klein and could conceivably be chalked up to tension between his camp and hers. At least two of the leaked shoots were Klein's, for W (and for the Hard Candy packaging).

Let's get something straight: We're all for exposing the artifice at work in these high-gloss photo shoots — particularly when what's being sold is not just unattainable to most, it's anatomically unfeasible. But contrary to what counsel for some of the airbrushees may think, mocking what these women actually look like is not the point.

Still, Madonna offers her own complications: She seems to regard her body as a hard-fought act of defiance, a bulwark against weakness or aging. If the unretouched photos of her tell us anything, it's that people are still obsessed with confirming the ultimate impossibility of that goal.

Update: According to one blogger who has posted several of these shots, it's not clear if the third "retouched" photo ever ran anywhere; it may be the work of an enterprising fan who got their hands on the outtakes.

Proof. Photoshop Is Your Friend [Dashusland]
Before Photo Confirms Photoshop At Play In Madonna's Louis Vuitton Campaign [NYM]
And The Leak Goes On [BoyCulture]
Cheek Mystique [BoyCulture]
And Turn that Light Off! [BoyCulture]
Madonna Without Photoshop, Jesus Without Pants [PopCrunch]
Related: Demi Moore Unretouched Or, Why Do Cosmetics Companies Think Models Need Photoshop?
Lies, Hollywood Lawyers, And The Continuing Case Of Demi's Left Leg
Here's Our Winner: Redbook Shatters Out Faith In, Well, If Not Publishing, Maybe God


Hortense Smith

I feel like the picture by the window has actually been tweaked to make her look older.