A look into the life of a retoucher

by Gannon Burgett

posted Monday, March 30, 2015 at 7:59 AM EST


The life of a retoucher is an oft misunderstood one. In the minds of many, a retoucher’s job is merely corrective, not creative. But Becci Manson, a retoucher who has worked with the likes of Christopher Griffith and Annie Leibovitz, is determined to show just how important of a role retouchers play in the final product of an image.

When the word ‘retoucher’ comes to mind, it’s usually accompanied by negative connotations. Often we’re left criticizing their efforts from a poor photoshop job, where they’ve made someone too skinny or have left in an extra finger. But that’s not everyone. In fact, it’s safe to say that is the minority.

The art of retouching is a tricky one, that must balance on a fine line between being creative and staying in stride with what the photographer, art directors and clients have in mind. But it’s a line Manson and many others walk on a daily basis with impressive patience.

In the thirteen minute video, Manson not only speaks about her time and experience as a retoucher for some of the best in the business, but also shares how she balances her professional endeavors with more personal, charitable ones.

Specifically, she mentions her efforts to organize a collection of volunteers after the disastrous Tōhoku tsunami in Japan in 2011. She and the other volunteers spent their own time restoring over 150,000 printed photographs, one at a time, to return to friends and families whose homes, family and friends had been taken away.

It’s both an inspiring and informative watch, so set some time aside and enjoy the show.

(via ISO 1200)