“Sex and the City” and the Photoshop

As the Sex and the City movie fast approaches (May 30, have you circled the day on your calendar with a big red pen yet?), new photos of the fabulous foursome have been released to promote the premiere. The ladies look like no time has passed since they first began sipping cosmos together on-screen a decade ago. Ah, Hollywood magic. Still, some news outlets are expressing surprise that the actresses may have been digitally enhanced in the promo pictures. Um, duh?

U.K. newspapers the Telegraph and Daily Mail both had pieces “exposing” the airbrushed shots. Help me out, British AfterEllen.com readers: Do people not use Photoshop across the pond? Or have we Americans been so conditioned to expect extreme reality makeovers that we no longer notice a digital nip here or computerized tuck there? Heck, even the women’s original Sex and the City photo shoot for the TV show 10 years ago was retouched. See:

Today the fab four are all in their 40s and beyond: Sarah Jessica Parker (43), Cynthia Nixon (41), Kristin Davis (43) and Kim Catrall (51). But from these new solo shots, I‘d put their ages somewhere between 28 and mannequin.

As much as I’d love it if the marketing departments let some wrinkles shine through, I’m not shocked at the women’s perfect, ageless skin. This is sadly just par for the course. In fact, it’s not even among the worst airbush atrocities out there. Talk to Faith Hill, Demi Moore and Kate Winslet, and then get back to me.

But the papers seemed so shocked that they even quote an airbrushing expert to affirm what anyone with eyes can already see. Chris Bickmore, an airbrush artist, said the faces had all been retouched: “None of them have any eye bags or crow’s feet around their eyes in this P.R. shot. Their faces are all now really perfect when women of their ages would have some wrinkles and facial detail.”

The retouching, while unfortunate, really only strays into beyond ridiculous with Kim’s photos. In fact, she actually looks like the victim of botched plastic surgery with her squinty eyes and sharpened chin. Also, her skin tone is way off from the rest of the ladies. Did they let the intern handle this one or what?

The irony, of course, is that all the women look amazing on their own. Red carpet pictures of all of them in the past few months confirm the fact that even without digital intervention, they all still look better than at least 95 percent of the rest us any day.

So, love the photos? Hate the retouching? Still can’t figure out why Kim Catrall looks vaguely seasick? Discuss.