Lady Gaga’s extreme retouch for Vogue cover revealed in behind-the-scenes shots

Before and after photo of the singer’s photo shoot for Vogue US reveal the extent of airbrushing used

It’s no secret that magazines use photo-trickery to enhance the beauty of their cover stars but readers are rarely readily exposed to the before and after shots – until now.

Vogue has published a behind-the-scenes montage of Lady Gaga’s September issue photo shoot, which uncovers how the singer is transformed from an albeit pretty special human, to the female vision we see on the cover.

Lady Gaga Vogue September issue © Vogue

[Related gallery: Retouched images that have gone too far]

Gaga is seen on Vogue in an electric purple Marc Jacobs gown with a tiny waist, perky bust, a halo of blonde hair and chiselled face. But that finished silhouette for the front cover was exaggerated with the help of some serious airbrushing.

In a video on its website, Vogue shows the singer looking curvier in a pink Marc Jacobs dress, with frizzy hair and a fuller face. The lower part of the dress before the fishtail hem has also been altered so much it seems Gaga has no knees at all.

[Related article: Computer tool reveals the secrets of fashion industry airbrushing]

The drastic before and after looks have sparked outrage among those who oppose excessive airbrushing in the media.

“Sometimes I wonder why people bother with the original photography anymore when the end result is basically just a photo illustration,” blogged Amy Odell of BuzzFeed.

The image shot by famed fashion photography duo Marcus Piggott and Mert Alas is said to be retouched work by their team, rather than the magazine itself.

[Related article: Artist pokes fun at airbrushed images]

Either way it seems Vogue isn’t fazed by the controversy, including the final cover at the end of the video montage.

The differences between the cover and the behind-the-scenes screen grab adds to the much-discussed issue of how much airbrushing is used in glossy magazines and raises questions about how far publications should go.

Is the case of airbrushing Lady Gaga too extreme or is all fair in the name of high-fashion?