Grazia photographer apologizes for altering Lupita Nyong’o’s hair on the magazine’s cover image

Nov 14, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Grazia photographer apologizes for altering Lupita Nyong’o’s hair on the magazine’s cover image

Nov 14, 2017

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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Grazia UK magazine has recently issued a cover featuring Lupita Nyong’o. However, her hair was so severely photoshopped, that the actress spoke out on social networks. She claims that her hair was edited out and made smoother “to fit a more Eurocentric notion of what beautiful hair looks like.” As a result, Grazia UK and photographer An Le apologized for an “incredibly monumental mistake.”

As you can see from Nyong’o’s tweet, the original photos feature her with kinky hair tied in a ponytail. However, in the final image on the magazine cover, she looks like her hair is extremely short. The actress reacted on Twitter, calling out on Grazia UK for making her hair fit “Eurocentric notion” of beautiful hair. She wrote a more extensive post on her Instagram page, stating that she’s disappointed with Grazia UK’s move: “[…] Had I been consulted, I would have explained that I cannot support or condone the omission of what is my native heritage with the intention that they appreciate that there is still a very long way to go to combat the unconscious prejudice against black women’s complexion, hair style and texture.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbTCfXKDjc8/?taken-by=lupitanyongo

After the actress reacted, Grazia UK apologized and admitted they didn’t “uphold the highest of editorial standards in ensuring that [they] were aware of all alterations that had been made.” However, they made it clear that they hadn’t required the photographer to alter the images, nor they altered them themselves. So the blame fell on An Le, who took the photos for the cover.

Realizing his mistake, Le also apologized to Nyong’o for making “an incredibly monumental mistake.” The photographer pointed out that his altering of the photo wasn’t caused by any hate, but it was a result of “his own ignorance.”

“Though it was not my intention to hurt anyone, I can see now that altering the image of her hair was an unbelievably damaging and hurtful act. As an immigrant myself, it is my duty to be an advocate for the representation of diversity of beauty in this industry. I will demonstrate this in my work even more going forward.”

He apologized not only to the actress, but also to anyone else he might have offended. In the end, he thanked Nyong’o for “addressing this important issue.”

I can’t speak for either the photographer or the actress, but I don’t judge either of them. Nyong’o felt disappointed and spoke out about it. On the other hand, I believe An Le had his vision of the final photo (not that I approve he made the actress look almost bold). I don’t think it had anything to do with racism. Still, he took the blame and apologized, which certainly is the way to go after you mess something up.

[via FStoppers, The Guardian; Cover image credits: Gage Skidmore]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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10 responses to “Grazia photographer apologizes for altering Lupita Nyong’o’s hair on the magazine’s cover image”

  1. stewart norton Avatar
    stewart norton

    A magazine image was photoshopped ! Whatever next ?!?

  2. veryferry Avatar
    veryferry

    And of course the racism cards gets played…
    Don’t these racism-yellers ever get tired of themselves, seeking hate wherever they can?

  3. Trino Pam Avatar
    Trino Pam

    She looks much better in the cover of Grazzia.
    It’s really sad the race card is being thrown like this in the air all the time, and I wonder how short hair is Eurocentric….

    1. Huge Dom Avatar
      Huge Dom

      The cover looks cleaner and she also looks much better and neater than the original photo.

  4. BlueBomberTurbo Avatar
    BlueBomberTurbo

    Single path from Pen tool + Content Aware Fill = severely Photoshopped? Wow, I need to charge more! :o

  5. Alexandar Scekic Avatar
    Alexandar Scekic

    This looks a lot more like socialmedia addiction then anything else. Constant need to feed the soc.media beast while trying to play on relavant topic. Ironically doing more to hurt the cause then anything else. All this does is taking a way from real relevant situations of racism and intolerance ending up hurting the thing u r trying to stand up for. On the acctual estetic side of it messy looking hair is messy looking hair no matter how you spin it. Heritage part is also a bit confusing cause traditional Kenyan women hair style looks a lot more like that cover then how she’s actually wering it https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2d21802e5cb4be125a06306e70e8388acb4f897db9d7a0fea96d0c5f005f22d6.jpg not that its a only hairstyle but its missleading to call it “Eurocentric notion”. Overall a lot of smoke but no fire. From a photography point of view when you are making changes that are too drastic it is a risk no matter what. Me personally I like to cover a lot more.

  6. g_disqus Avatar
    g_disqus

    No photoshop? Is she know they can’t shoot same models without photoshop? They will must find 15-yo girls with ideal skin for covers. I think this situation is very very bad: many model risk to lost job if same behaivor will be ok. (sorry for my english, i am very much puzzled).

  7. Sean Avatar
    Sean

    So if she’s so concerned about how she’s portrayed why not complain about the smoothing and lightening of her skin? Seems stooopid all around. She actually looks better with the cropped hair IMHO.

  8. Frank Nazario Avatar
    Frank Nazario

    what an amazingly pointless, shallow and self centered vain argument this is… lately so many people are becoming so absurdly “social-media-politically-correct” that falls in to ridicule comments… so Eurocentric are u f’ing kidding me? Beautiful stunning black women have been doing that for decades in the fashion industry plllleeease this is NOT anything new its JUST A FREAKING HAIR DO… and the photographer took an ARTISTIC CREATIVE DECISION to concentrate the viewer in the expression and beauty of this absolutely stunning woman’s face.

    You guys need to chill… you are going way overboard by things that are not important.

  9. JML Avatar
    JML

    This is ridiculous! If a model signs a model release, the owner of the photo can do with it whatever he/sh pleases to do. Get a life, lady. More importantly, read what you sign!