Invisible Ink

Scarlett Johansson has a multicolor scene on the inside of her arm and lingerie model Isabeli Fontana has a large set of angel wings on her upper back. Looking at ads Johansson did for Dolce & Gabbana and photos of Fontana in the Victoria’s Secret catalog, however, one would not suspect that either possessed even a millimeter of anything other than flawless, ink-free skin. Despite the growing faddishness of tattoos, many major brands and magazines continue to airbrush away the ink on their models and actors. (All the tattoos at left have been removed in at least one instance, as you’ll see in the slides that follow.) URL:

Given that even Barbie got a tattoo last year, is anyone really going to be scandalized at this point by a permanent skin adornment? Most brands in this slideshow declined to comment on their post-production airbrushing policies. But Daniel Meadows, a professional photo retoucher who’s worked in the trade for over 10 years with clients such as L’Oreal Paris, Chanel, Harper’s Bazaar, and Elle, suggested that the Photoshopping may be motivated less by ideology than aesthetics. “Ultimately it comes down to composition, he says. “If it’s about a dress or a hairstyle, and all you can see when you look at the shot is this tattoo, it’ll be taken out.” That said, given that 21 percent of Americans now have tattoos—up 14 percent from four years ago according to Harris Interactive—perhaps more brands will start seeing tattoos less as blemish-like distractions, than enhancers.

Click here for the slideshow.

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