Kelly Clarkson: Skinny and Svelte on Cover of Self, Thanks to Airbrushing

"Her torso was probably elongated, they almost certainly trimmed everything out," Farid said. "And if you talk to the people who do this, they do the same thing to every model. It's a cookie-cutter thing." (Italian GQ did not immediately respond to requests for comment.)

No one wants to reverse the course of technology. But when it comes to digital photo manipulation, less really may be more.

"I think it would be interesting for fashion magazines to return to some level of sanity, to say 'here are the things that we're going to do to the images,'" Farid said. "Be up front about it. I have no problem with removing blemishes, taking away a stray hair, playing with the lighting -- it's creating a neck that's three inches longer than any human is capable of having."

"There is a bigger picture here beyond the fashion magazines," he added. "It's our ability to trust photographs. When fashion magazines create such magnificent pieces of art, it really starts to chip away at our ability to trust what we're looking at. It's why people are so skeptical of what they see."

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