Jezebel Pays $10K for Pre-Photoshop Lena Dunham Vogue Pics, Checkbook Journ

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Jezebel published the above photo, which is says is the pre-Photoshop version of a Vogue photo of Lena Dunham, and marked up changes between it and the published Vogue photos. (Credit: Jezebel/Vogue, screenshot)

Breaking news! Fashion magazine Vogue Photoshops women.

The blog Jezebel paid $10,000 to get the pre-Photoshopped photographs of Lena Dunham published by Vogue.

Yesterday, Jezebel, a blog that reports on “celebrity, sex, fashion for women. without airbrushing,” posted a call for the “pre-Photoshop images from Lena’s Vogue shoot” in exchange for $10,000.  Noting that the published photos are “quite nice” and Dunham “looks fantastic,” Jezebel said it wanted the original photos is to see just how much editing went into the shoot.

Jezebel explained:

“Our desire to see these images pre-Photoshop is not about seeing what Dunham herself “really” looks like; we can see that every Sunday night or with a cursory Google search. She’s everywhere. We already know what her body looks like. There’s nothing to shame here.  …

“Until we see pre-production images from the shoot, we can’t say for sure how much work Vogue put into the job. But we sure would like to know, and given the conspicuous absence of Lena’s arm in one shot (above), we’re going to venture that her images got more than the basic adjustments for lighting and shadows and errant flyaway hairs.”

Jezebel also listed eight incidents since 2008 where Vogue doctored cover models.

Jezebel’s Dodai Stewart noted in the comments that Jezebel has previously offered cash for pre-Photoshop images. Stewart wrote:

“I just want to point out that the first time we did this was when this blog launched in 2007. The result was the Faith Hill cover of Redbook, which led to many important discussions about how and why ladymags ‘fix’ women — a conversation that remains vital.”

Many readers criticized the decision in the comments, arguing Jezebel was trying to drive traffic to the website or for ulterior motives.

This morning, Jezebel published the photos and marked up some of the changes, including slimming Dunham’s hips and neck. The blog explained how it got the pictures: “Within two hours of offering $10,000 for unretouched images from Annie Leibovitz’s photography session with the HBO star, we received six allegedly unaltered images.”

iMediaEthics asked Vogue for comment and if it is looking into how Jezebel got the photos. Vogue declined to comment.

Jezebel’s conclusion? “While Dunham has not been radically Photoshopped, it’s clearer than ever what kind of woman Vogue finds Vogue-worthy: The taller, longer-limbed, svelter version of reality. Vogue is not interested in reality, of course. The photographs are meant to be a fantasy, art.”

In one case showing Dunham standing on a sidewalk with a pigeon on her head, Jezebel wrote: “stock pigeon photo!” but noted that Vogue responded on Instagram with a candid photo from the photo shoot showing Dunham’s back with a pigeon on Dunham’s head.

Gossip Cop noted that Dunham has tweeted since the Jezebel call for photos. While she didn’t specifically say her tweets were about Jezebel, they seem to refer to it.




UPDATE: 1/21/2014 12:24 PM EST: Added response from Vogue

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Jezebel Pays $10K for Pre-Photoshop Lena Dunham Vogue Pics, Checkbook Journalism?

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