Do these photos look like the same person to you? Maegan Tintari, the Los Angeles-based personal style blogger behind …Love Maegan, had recently taken part in Brahmin's Fall Catalog blogger campaign. She was asked to submit a high resolution photo of herself with the handbag, and it would be included in their catalog, both in print and on the web. Upon receiving the catalog last night, she realized that the photo of her, did not look like her at all. The photo had a different nose which made her look like a different person.
I've been reading …Love Maegan for several years. I've even met Maegan in real life. In my opinion, she's gorgeous, even more than she is in the photos on her blog. When I saw these photos, it instantly appeared to be a bad and unnecessary Photoshop job on her nose. Maegan emailed the Brahmin team immediately, their response was:
“We did crop photos and had to change yours to print quality as they were submitted in web quality too blurry for print. This however was not or would have resulted in your face changing. I am not sure why you think it looks different than what you sent us… Perhaps you are used to seeing [yourself] online and not in print?”
While we all see ourselves differently in our mind's eye, it is impossible to deny that the Brahmin photo was altered in some way. The contract signed by Maegan gave Brahmin the right to alter her images, but at what point does a company have a right to alter an image without the consent of the subject? The catalog did state the woman in the photo was Maegan Tintari of … Love Maegan, but what if she felt it did not look like her?
Photoshopping controversies are nothing new. In April of this year, Coco Rocha was Photoshopped by Brazilian Elle to appear as though she was wearing a sheer dress with nothing beneath it. If she had a nudity clause in her contract, she might have been able to stop distribution of the magazine, maybe get some money from the lawsuit, but that it was probably a “long shot.” Without specific clauses in legal contracts, it's difficult to have control over how an image is presented and how a brand or publication uses it.
Unfortunately, incidents like this are not something one can foresee. Like why would someone alter a face, especially if if that particular face are gives the photo it's value? Maegan's fans would have identified with the Brahmin's product more if they could recognize her.
However, when it comes to business, it's possible to negotiate anything, including approval rights for all images, as it's impossible to imagine everything that could go wrong. The bloggers who took part in this were compensated in product only, so they certainly had the grounds to negotiate more control over their own brand was portrayed.
UPDATE 10/06/12: Thanks to reader, “Joe” who notified us that Maegan's original nose is now in the online version of the Brahmin catalog.