To illustrate the increasing prevalence of digital manipulation in today’s media, London-based Concept Production Studio Taylor James transformed MTV presenter Rickie Haywood-Williams into a woman. MTV commissioned the stunt to demonstrate to its predominantly 16-34 year old audience that not everything is as it seems in the media. Taylor James filmed and photographed Rickie along with two female models before working their retouching magic to bring it to life.
Running as part of ‘MTV’s Got Issues’ this month, Lisa Stokoe, Executive Producer, Production, MTV Networks, UK & Ireland said: “We wanted to create something visual, immediate and impactful that would highlight how unattainable the ideals created by the media are and reveal the techniques used by professional retouch artists. That's where Taylor James came into their own! With their extensive experience and excellent reputation within the industry, we knew they could bring our concept to life. In a matter of clicks, they made the impossible possible.”
The Taylor James team relished the challenge set for them. Josh Rogers, Head of Retouch at Taylor James, explained the process:
“Having captured Rickie, we photographed our female models in exactly the same pose, position and lighting. We then began the transformation, to manipulate Rickie’s photo using the female elements for the body, hair and eyelashes. We then applied some makeup, blusher, eye shadow, lipstick. At this stage, Rickie still had very short hair and muscular physique, so we went about swapping Rickie’s torso and hair for that of our females. Extensive colour work was required to carefully match up the skin tones - this was vital in achieving the seamless join between Rickie’s face and our female hair and body elements. As we work primarily on advertising campaigns, this was a rare and fun chance for us to retouch people to the extreme.”