In 2016, digital retouching is an omnipresent practice widely used by professionals and well known to the public who can now edit their own images. However, retouching was born along with Photography in the XIXth century, and applied to photographs of landscapes, portraits or used for montages in the silver laboratory. Throughout the XXth century, manipulation was used in all photographic categories, including press photography and photojournalism, but remained hidden, even denied because this would discredit the objectivity of the photographic image. With the appearance of digital photography in the 1990’s, retouching was not used more than before, but was simply more known. At first, we will ask the question of the human perception of retouching in 2016, through a survey questioning professionals of the image and individuals without specific iconographic knowledge ; we will also take into consideration the type of image manipulated. We will see there is not one way of retouching, but many, according to the image category to which they apply. Finally, we will focus on the current use of professional retouching and how demand has evolved over the last fifteen years. Despite
the significant alterations and shifting of skills from the shoot to post-production, a return to the natural seems to be emerging, at least in the discourse of the general public. Nevertheless, we can see the development of some new technologies that push the limits of representation, sometimes to the point of dehumanising the models. Digital doubles, sort of avatars created from a scan of the human body, arise as an alternative to retouching, with realism at the heart of the practice.
Key-Words: Photography / Retouching / Digital / Manipulation / Perception / Evolution / 3D / Virtual Models / Digital Doubles.