Cover Story, Part III: Ugly Betty Photoshopped?

How much photo manipulation is too much? The controversy still rages, and always will. The October issue of Glamour magazine featured actress America Ferrera--TV's Ugly Betty--on its cover, and she seemed suddenly slimmed. At least she did to Gawker's Jezebel blog, which compared the cover to a shot of Ferrera at this year's Emmy awards, which took place the same week the Glamour cover hit newsstands.

How much photo manipulation is too much? The controversy still rages, and always will. The October issue of Glamour magazine featured actress America Ferrera--TV's Ugly Betty--on its cover, and she seemed suddenly slimmed. At least she did to Gawker's Jezebel blog, which compared the cover to a shot of Ferrera at this year's Emmy awards, which took place the same week the Glamour cover hit newsstands. However, as reported in this post on the blog of trade magazine Folio, Glamour denies that any retouching was done.
Folio philosophically mentions that photo manipulation has long been a common practice when it comes to polishing up magazine covers. They back that assertion up with a quote from George Karabotsos, design director of Men's Health magazine, which got caught earlier this year adding inches to the biceps of tennis pro Andy Roddick for a rippling cover shot. Karabotsos does err when he mentions that National Geographic was manipulating photos as far back as 1952, when the pyramids were moved around to improve the composition of a cover photo. That did happen, but it 1982. (We'll kindly assume it was a typo or a young reporter's poor dictation skills.) My feeling is that consumers probably expect that cover photos are manipulated nowadays. I'm not even sure people even consider cover photos as actual photos. They look at them as illustrations.
--David Schonauer