Monday, January 28, 2013

The Camera Never Lies... But The Retoucher Does

The camera never lies, so they say. But the retouchers say a little fib never hurt anyone.

A retoucher painted out part of this picture of Thelma Todd ( as "Alison Loyd", in CORSAIR ), in order to make her stand out from the background for publication. Sometimes they painted out other things, such as blemishes or distracting details. Retouchers could change a photograph's appearence a great deal.
 Ginger Rogers at Paramount, before she was famous. They wanted her to stand out from the background, too

The picture is marked "reverse, so presumably they wanted it reversed when printed for publication.

                                                                                Paulette Goddard

A little off the sides, please.

Mae West
They did the same thing with this picture, but it's a little less obvious.


Dale pointed out that they retouched this photo to make Carole Forman's bust smaller. The painted-out area is still visible as white.

Here, Dale attempted to restore "The Spider Lady" to her former greatness.
Ann Rutherford 
This one also looks like there has been retouching in the area of the bust..
Carole Landis, sometimes called "The Original Sweater Girl"
 This one, too.
Somebody thought Spock of Star Trek fame looked a little too much like the Devil. Something that didn't really seem to matter on television, but they wanted a different look for their publication.
 Left, Spock as he really looks ( at least on television ). Right, the new improved version.
 Finally, we take a look at something a retoucher might have done, but did not.
The wire suspending the balloon on the left is visible in this picture of Thelma Todd at Paramound in the silent era. A retoucher could have painted the wire out to make it appear as if the balloon were floating in midair, without any type of support.
 I've never retouched photos, and I never progressed beyond semi-professional photographer as I never really made any money out of it, but I worked with the old cameras and the old techniques and am familiar with them. The guys that made those old publicity pictures achieved fantastic results without modern equiptment. They are amoung the unsung heroes of their era, and Hollywood owes them much.

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