Oprah, baby, please let me DeTouch you…

My Mom recently expressed exasperation at a toothy magazine cover of Oprah Winfrey. “She’s the same age as me, so why doesn’t she have bags under her eyes and everything else?”
The answer is, of course, the vanity tag-team of plastic surgery and photo airbrushing! Thanks to Evan Roth, a senior fellow at the Eyebeam OpenLab, my mom can soon see EXACTLY where Oprah’s eye baggage is hidden. Roth’s project, DeTouch, uses the open-source technology, Processing, to deconstruct magazine retouching pixel by pixel. Using before and after photos, DeTouch uses algorithms to map the precise aspects of the “before” photo that were deleted, added or changed by the retouch artist.
This program is an essential media literacy tool, especially for young women who might put their natural bodies at harm to mimic the fantasy world that gleaming glossy magazine covers create. With scary television shows that treat plastic surgery treatments to be as blasé and normal as buying a new pair of shoes, DeTouch provides a reality check that we all desperately need.

This entry was posted in News, Reference Library. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Maria Ritter says:

    This is exactly what society needs, a look at reality. Nothing wrong with growing old and being who we are. Looking forward in seeing and reading more. Good job and thanks.

  2. Ed Ritter says:

    Holy reverse engineering, Batman! Some things you don’t want to see the ‘how-to’ steps involved…just enjoy the end result.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s about time that woman bring their self-love back! The media can be ashamed at pretending that life is really like what they are portraying. We have bought into feeling “less than” long enough. It is now time we realize that we are all equal and noone is better or less than. A good reality check helps the healing. Go girl! I think Oprah rocks, by the way!

  4. aj says:

    omg she did not look like this what a lie!!!!!!!!!

  5. alex says:

    This software does not work, you cannot trace the pattern of airbrushed images. Also, in magazines, a lot of women are airbrushed literally, their faces sprayed with makeup that seems like paint, their faces are actually painted with makeup. After that session is complete, perfect lighting and high end cameras, such as Hassleblad. Very little editing is done after that. Don’t listen to this nonsense. Pros know what they do.

  6. Alex,

    Perhaps you don’t understand how the software works. The “before and after images are compared algorithmically pixel by pixel to generate visualizations of the alterations.” The software looks for changes between a before and after photo, usually sourced from retouch websites.

    Also, try looking here and reading up.

    – Steve Lambert

  7. Anonymous says:

    People who have MET Oprah know that she is not as you put her to be.
    Quit trying to bring a successful woman’s rep down by this junk.
    People like you piss me off.
    She does not sit around all day gossiping about lowly people like you.

  8. This post isn’t about Oprah, it’s about software. I’m not trying to spread rumors or gossip about her or her physical appearance. Photo editing is normal industry protocol. Plastic surgery is common amongst celebrities.

  9. Anonymous says:

    There is nothing wrong with oprah using make-up or cutting-edge software to beautify herself. Her profession demands it. As someone who has seen her shows for years, i know that she encourages women to be natural and be comfortable with how they look.. Many a time has she appeared sans makeup on her show. She does not have a high sense of vanity.You and i want to see perfect faces on magazine covers with perfect bodies and gorgeous clothes. Tv and print are highly visual mediums and obviously one has to be made up to suit the spotlight.
    As far as this software goes i dont know what you are trying to achieve.. by exposing something that the person has no problems exposing herself.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I am going through a really hard time in my life. At the age of 52, as my 16-year-old daughter becomes beautiful, I feel like I am rotting. It is a normal process, aging. I have always thought I would let my hair gray naturally, but as it grays I am in conflict. I look around me and I see this culture so hellbent on defying death and age. I am glad to see Oprah as she is. I am glad, as much as anything to see the dialogue on this, particularly the comment from the person above, about women getting their self-love back. She may have talked me out of coloring my hair. God, I hope so. I want to love myself as I age. I do agree with the person above who said that this media world demands this beauty. But why? Why do we, as she/he says, have to have these images before us? Why do people have to be beautiful to be on the covers of magazines?

  11. J in NY says:

    Truth is, most Black women age very well. Is Oprah using too many fancy creams and doing stuff to make her skin creep? (Oil of Olay and shea butter is all that’s needed.) I’m an African American and no one in my family, or in my neighborhood for that matter, looks this bad. Have to respect her accomplishments, though. I wonder if she’d trade beauty for money. I hope not.

  12. Kelly Ditsh says:


  13. ashley says:

    i totally agree there is nothing wrong with becoming old and being all natural sometimes. we will all look the same one day trust me. get of her back !

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>