It’s one of the most frequent things I hear – and photographers at The News must get it even more than I do.
‘Can you airbrush me?’ people say.
Anyone who has their photo taken seems to want it digitally-enhanced in some way or another.
A little tweak here, a few creases ironed out there. It’s amazing how much a mouse can resemble a magic wand with the right computer programme and a little know-how.
None of us is picture perfect. The lady who ‘kindly’ wrote to me once, suggesting I should consider wearing a paper bag over my head, probably thinks I need more airbrushing than most.
Sadly, as my by-line picture reveals, we don’t use the technique here.
Shame, because my forehead’s starting to look like a tank has been practising how to reverse on it.
It’s actually advertising agencies that are responsible for most of the tidying up that gets done to pictures.
As the recent fuss over images featuring Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington goes to show, some think even A-list beauties need improvements.
And, when you think about it, what’s so wrong with that?
You’d have to be mad to believe the foundation Roberts had been hawking in the picture that’s fallen foul of the Advertising Standards Agency really did work that kind of miracle.
A stunner she might be. But no cream can make skin look like it’s lit from within by a thousand tiny light bulbs.
Same goes for the Penelope Cruz mascara advert, the one that looks like she’s grown feather boas on her eyelids.
L’Oreal wasn’t tricking us. We all know these photos have been enhanced. Women have been buying beauty products for years. It’s just a spot of artistry, big deal.
That hasn’t stopped MPs Jo Swinson and Lynne Featherstone setting up a campaign calling on advertisers to be up-front about their use of airbrushing.
But if you look carefully at any make-up ad you’ll see a tell-tale disclaimer making it clear that a spot of re-touching has been employed.
There are lots of things to be getting our knickers in a twist about right now. A little magic tool that makes pictures look prettier shouldn’t be one of them.