Will the real Celia please stand up

KERRY MCBRIDE
Last updated 05:00 27/07/2013
Celia Wade-Brown

IMAGE MAGIC: Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown shown before and after some professional makeover treatment.

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Helen Clark did it, Mana MP Kris Faafoi did it - and now Wellington's mayor Celia Wade-Brown appears to have done it too.

Photos for her upcoming election campaign, sent to The Dominion Post, seem to have given the Wellington mayor a digital makeover.

When compared with pictures taken of Ms Wade-Brown at recent events, and those used as her profile images on Twitter, the campaign photo appears to have been smoothed out around the eyes.

The suspicions were confirmed last night by PhotoShop specialist Hish Robertson, of Melbourne's The Age newspaper, who said the photo had definitely been worked on by a PhotoShop operator, though he could not tell to what extent without seeing the original.

"The thing that really gives it away may be the wrinkles under the eyes - there seems to be skin texture on her face but under her eyes it's a little bit smooth."

"It has been worked on in some way, shape or form," he said.

Ms Wade-Brown said she had a professional photographer take the photos, but had not asked for any PhotoShopping to be done.

"The focus on women's appearance instead of campaign policies is interesting," she said.

The PhotoShop phenomenon is not confined to women, however. Labour MP Kris Faafoi's photo for his 2010 by-election campaign appears to have been given a touch-up, and he said yesterday he wasn't quite sure why.

The photography was done in a hurry - the picture was taken one day and printed the next.

"There's always a bit of touching up that's done . . . I didn't get to see it before it was [printed] and I must admit when I saw it I thought, ‘They are very white teeth'.

"I haven't got many studio-quality shots, so I kept using it."

It had not been an issue, apart from people commenting on those teeth, he said.

"I'm still dark-skinned, and it still looks like me."

In the leadup to the 1999 general election, Helen Clark, then the Opposition leader, was criticised for her airbrushed images, which straightened her teeth, heightened her cheekbones and gave her a perfectly coiffured hairdo.

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