Dad Emails Photographer About Retouching His Wife: ‘You Took Away the Documentation of My Children’
When a mom of two in her mid-40s decided to star in a boudoir photoshoot as a gift for her husband, she wanted to look and feel gorgeous.
After choosing 30 photos for the album, she requested that photographer Victoria Haltom of Victoria Caroline Boudoir heavily edit the photos. In a post she shared on Facebook, Haltom notes that the mom (who Haltom kept anonymous) asked her to “photoshop all of my cellulite, all of my angry red stretch marks, ALL of my fat, and all of my wrinkles…just make it go away. I want to feel gorgeous just ONCE.”
Haltom obliged her client’s request but as it turns out, the mom’s perception of her physical appearance was quite different from her husband’s. After receiving the special gift he emailed Haltom to express how his “heart sank” with disappointment. “These pictures…while they are beautiful and you are clearly a very talented photographer…they are not my wife.”
He went on to say that he knows his wife of 18 years well enough to know that she requested the editing, but explained that the retouching held a deeper meaning for him than making his wife look ‘gorgeous.’ “You made every one of her ‘flaws’ disappear…and while I’m sure this is exactly what she asked you to do, it took away everything that makes up our life,” he wrote. “When you took away her stretch marks, you took away the documentation of my children. When you took away her wrinkles, you took away over two decades of our laughter, and our worries. When you took away her cellulite, you took away her love of baking and all the goodies we have eaten over the years.”
Nevertheless, he acknowledged that he appreciated the photos and was grateful for Haltom’s work, but for a different meaning than his wife intended. “I am not telling you all of this to make you feel horrible, you’re just doing your job and I get that. I am actually writing you to thank you," he wrote. "Seeing these images made me realize that I honestly do not tell my wife enough how much I LOVE her and adore her just as she is. She hears it so seldom, that she actually thought these photoshopped images are what I wanted and needed her to look like. I have to do better, and for the rest of my days I am going to celebrate her in all her imperfectness.”
For Haltom, the email was a wakeup call. “Ladies, I can Photoshop just about anything. But I encourage you to think twice about how much ‘altering’ we do. Our loved ones cherish and adore us just as we are," she wrote. “I encourage you to embrace YOU just as you are.”