Gaga Photoshop Hubbub: But Is It News?

By Nork


Pop star Lady Gaga has always maintained that fame, in itself, is her primary art form. The latest chapter came in the form of her ad campaign for Versace, launched several months ago. But what really blew up the internet wasn’t the campaign itself, but the recent leaking of what appear to be original, unretouched photos from her print shoot.

The commentariat noted the before-and-after shots looked “like night and day” . . . . “They look like two different people” . . . . “Heavy Photoshop editing saw the singer dramatically changed. . . digitally given a lot more make up than she appeared to be wearing in the original shots and even had her hair changed from a straw blonde to a more platinum shade.”

Well, surprise, surprise: ad agencies retouch photographs. That’s a well established practice going back to the days of the airbrush. Proclaiming this to be big news or a “scandal” is pretty silly.

Yet, the more the uproar gained traction, the more apparent it became to me that releasing the unretouched shots was a brilliantly conceived marketing coup. The “scandal” earned the Versace ads huge exposure – much wider exposure than the original campaign. A clever, calculated move by Team Gaga-Versace – bravo!