I've seen examples of ridiculous retouched pageant portraits being pointed out before, but my artistic pride has now compelled me to comment on this.
Following a link on BoingBoing led me to a website I saw branded on one of the photos.
Their retouching examples actually aren't bad, but I don't get this twisted technique of "enhancing" glamor portraits of kids until they look like this:
I understand the digital artist is probably just trying to appease an exploitative & tasteless white trash client who thinks this is really cute in some f*d up way, but I also find this dreadful on a number of levels.
Child pageants are grotesque enough, with South Park even ridiculing the idea. However, the idea of plasticizing your child's face into a surreal mask-like beauty portrait is just beyond my ability to appreciate.
The best part is- if you read the customer's comment for the above photo retouching, the dirtbag pageant mom from Tennessee doesn't even buy a print- but requests only the free sample even after admitting to being a total pain in the ass!!!
"Thats great. I would like the Free 8x10...I would like to just say thanks for making the changes...Sorry for all the changes. but ya'll have worked with me and are very nice and kind. I hope to receive by next weekend so I can have them for her Nationals and will let everyone know where I got hers done at:):) Thanks once again and have a nice Day:)" Candace R. - Goodlettsville, TN
Even though I think the photo work is a disgrace to Art, it's still physical labor! So to have someone be really picky, but then not even give you the business must be frustrating.
Looking for more examples of this bizarre art form, I came across this website that lets you move the cursor over the photo to see the "before" picture. Weird.
Having done alot of photo retouching for both clients & family, I can say the work that goes into it is not easy. For example, my parents' prom picture below was one of the more challenging photos I fixed up for my Mom's recent birthday slideshow. However, just because I can appreciate the time involved in such work doesn't mean I can justify the distasteful objective of the 'pageant portrait' idea.