If you had never been to a fashion shoot, you might think click was where it ended. Pascal Dangin knows better. He's the man whom photographers, designers and editors seek out to perfect the pictures--and the people--who appear in fashion magazines. Dangin is founder and head of Box Studios in New York City, the fashion world's most sought-after photo-retouching firm. As the essential "postproduction" man for Annie Leibovitz, Craig McDean and other top-tier photographers, Dangin draws out possibilities within the negative after the picture is snapped. Not incidentally, he also improves any skimpy eyebrows, plump thighs or detectable pores. Whatever Kate Hudson or Gwen Stefani or Nicole Kidman might look like in fact, what she looks like in Harper's Bazaar or W is often Dangin's doing.
At his studio in lower Manhattan, he and his assistants sit at computer keyboards to soften lighting, heighten colors or erase crowsfeet. (The hardest flaw to deal with? "Bad toes.") But in a day when fashion magazines are publishing "Frankenstars"--women assembled for the page by bolting a head from one shot to a body from another--some of the flesh-and-blood stars are protesting. In recent months Kate Winslet and Julia Roberts have complained that they were unreasonably remade (not by Dangin) on magazine covers. "Postproduction capability should not be looked at as a voodoo practice," he insists. "It's been like this forever. The black-and-white photography of old Hollywood stars was extremely airbrushed." Call it voodoo or magic, we had him do a bit of it for this issue. He replaced the cover model's mouth with one from another picture of the same woman. Does she look too good to be true?
Wink. --By Richard Lacayo