Culture

Vanity Fair Photographers Answer Rumer Willis Photoshop Complaint

A highly publicised complaint by American singer/actress, Rumer Willis against distinguished photographers Mark Williams and Sara Hirakawa has now received a response.

The retouching that was done to the photograph was only done to resolve some distortion with using a wide angle lens for a group shot, and not to alter or modify anyone’s face.

Willis claimed that a photograph of her from a recent Vanity Fair editorial shoot had been retouched in a manner that was tantamount to bullying. She explicitly put the photographers at fault in a post on her Instagram account, which also called for fans to remove the photo from their feeds.

“The photographer Photoshopped my face to make my jaw smaller and I find it really offensive for anyone to try and change the way you look so drastically. I love the way I look and I won’t support anyone who would feel a need to change the way I look to make me beautiful. Whether or not they realize it, it is a form of bullying, which I won’t stand for.”

The post gained moderate attention online as fans rallied to show their support.

We reached out to the partnership of Williams and Hirakawa for comment and received the following statement which attempts to explain away any photo manipulation as a last-ditch effort to repair a technical issue caused by lens distortion.

“The retouching that was done to the photograph was only done to resolve some distortion with using a wide angle lens for a group shot, and not to alter or modify anyone’s face. We used a wide angle lens, and it might’ve made Rumer’s chin look smaller from the higher angle that we shot the image. We did correct for the optics of the lens slightly as people’s heads get distorted through the wide angle lens. We certainly did not intend to change the way she naturally looks. Our intention was to capture the special bond between Rumer and her sisters.”

The response goes on to express regret but stops short of any grand apology, stating that the photography team consider this a simple mistake. It also points out that the image was not intended for distribution.

It saddens us that Rumer feels the way she does about the image and hope she understands that there was never any intention with it to alter her appearance.

We should make clear that this image was an outtake and was not published in Vanity Fair or vf.com nor did they ever see it.

If the picture was indeed simply a botched outtake and was at no point shared with Vanity Fair, this does counter Willis’ argument somewhat. If true, it shows that Williams and Hirakawa did not believe the image met their quality standards and it stands to reason that their intent wasn’t to push any kind of beauty ideals or to misrepresent Willis’ appearance. A completely different image was indeed used in the final published piece on Vanity Fair.com.

The Willis camp is yet to respond to the statement from Williams and Hirakawa.

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