Lady Gaga's "Shocking" Photoshopped Pics? Not That Shocking

Lady Gaga is the victim of the latest Photoshop scandal, if we can even call it that. Untouched photos from the singer’s Versace photo shoot leaked online earlier this week, revealing a different, more raw side of the pop star that is not reflected in the magazine’s official photos. Though the incident presents a perfect opportunity to make a lyrical joke (“I wasn’t born this way, Versace!” or “Do what you want with my body, as long as you don’t Photoshop it” both come), Gaga has yet to reach out for comment.


The photographs, which portray a brooding Gaga modeling against a purple couch and designer bags, show clear alterations to the singer’s jawline and complexion, giving her more of a toned, bluish glow and a paler, less saturated hair color. While Gaga’s stance on Photoshop has become increasingly questionable over the years, I can’t imagine the “Just Dance” singer would approve of the changes.

Then again, there aren’t many changes to disapprove of in the first place. Compared to other Photoshop disasters, the Versace shoot is relatively mild. How easily people forget that, just a few weeks ago, a young Target model lost a whole chunk of her thigh and arm to an editing disaster. In a 2013 Vogue photo series, Claire Dane lost an entire leg. I mean, if Photoshopped pictures were anything like A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984), where events in the “dream world” affect events in reality, Claire Danes would be hobbling across Washington D.C. in Homeland and children would be wandering around J.Crew with no arms and extra shiny hair. It would be pure madness.

Who needs a second leg when you’re cuddling when a Vogue model?

What I’m trying to say, really, is that Lady Gaga’s photo shoot can hardly be called a scandal compared to some of the other editing fails we’ve seen over the past few years. That’s not to say that what these magazines are doing is not important. In a world where the media is constantly trying to mold our perceived image of beauty, Photoshop can be a very dangerous tool. However, Versace’s untouched photos don’t reflect that sort of agenda, at least not to the extent that some news sites are claiming. A few saturation adjustments and a thinning of the jawline are nothing compared to some of the more drastic measures tabloids have taken in the past.

Perhaps Gaga’s untouched pictures are really the beginning of the end for the construction of body image in the media and I’m under-reacting, but it’s also possible that an opportunistic journalist noticed a slight contrast in the “before and after photos” and saw the potential for a “scandalous” report. What do you think? Should we be taking Gaga’s untouched photos more seriously? Or are the pictures not as “shocking” as everyone is making them out to be?

Featured image via

  • Lenina Bláhová

    I think the campaign is great! Fashion photography is a kind of art and art can play with reality. Maybe Mona Lisa was blonde with blue eyes or even crazy mid-age male with moustache. We should enjoy presented beauty insted of looking for arguments how to put it down!

    • Marlene Minori Nishime

      I can only agree with the previous comment. There’s boundaries to which we can criticize an artists’ atmospheric and tonal decisions, just like there are boundaries to which an artist can completely reform (and sometimes deform) a model’s body shape. There’s a fine line that we’re all still trying to figure out. This photoshop job is so mild and subtle that it feels more of an artistic choice rather than a “clean-up” of the model’s imperfections.

  • Ez Eggs

    I think its a beautiful photo shoot! I don’t think there is a need here for people to get their nickers in a knot. They haven’t grossly increased her but size or sheered inches off her butt to deceive people or make them feel inadequate. Its obvious that it has been photoshopped, she looks like a wax doll, and its cool. People should be getting more revved up about those mascara advertisements! Now that is a gross use of photoshop and seriously misleading!

  • Britney Kidd

    This is fashion photography, and there’s nothing wrong with what I see here. chopping a leg off is clearly a bad choice, but getting all worked up about retouched ads or magazine covers is silly, especially since it is nothing new. if you want a raw untouched snap shot, use the iPhone. check out instagram. i think people need to chill a bit. If someone’s job is to find a ‘photoshop disaster of the week’, the story is getting old, and this campaign especially, is a bit of a reach. I see nothing wrong with it. :)

  • Gera Louise Labaniego

    What people don’t realise here is that her other leg is under the garment… The only thing I would say about these kind of things is that if you don’t like it, don’t look at it. If somebody asks you for your opinion then say what you think of it and don’t expect everybody to agree with you. Just remember we all do different things for a living, just so happens that theirs (the photographer, models, artists, etc.) are published worldwide unlike the rest of the world.

  • Artice Garland

    What’s the problem? Lady Gaga is a contrived celebrity. She is RL photoshopping. Lady Gaga is 100% concerned with her image and she doesn’t care (nor should she) if little girls decide to try to look like her. If people think they need to be skinny as a heroine junky, dress in a bacon suit, or carry a $4000 purse to make them fell better about themselves, who are we to judge? Photoshop away! Self esteem doesn’t come from a magazine or a bottle or from a designer store. It is never bought. If you hate photoshopped ads so much, don’t read them and don’t buy the products. If you still feel like you have to rebel against Vogue or JC Penny because they photoshop pictures, you are probably the one with esteem and image issues. Physician, heal thyself!

  • Amy Metcalf

    Isn’t the ‘Vogue model’ Damien Lewis? That’s kind of an ironic amazing actor being mistaken for a prop-person thing that normally happen to ladies….

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