Lena Dunham: Spanish magazine El Pais denies photoshopping her image in open letter

The Girls star accused supplement Tentaciones of 'more than the average photoshop'

A Spanish magazine has issued an open letter to Lena Dunham denying altering her image after the Girls creator accused it of carrying out “more than the average photoshopping” on a picture of her.

Dunham shared the front cover from the El Pais supplement Tentaciones on her Instagram page on Monday. The image was taken by Ruven Afanador, a fashion and celebrity photographer, and Dunham was not interviewed by Tentaciones for the issue. 

In a caption, she wrote: “Oh hello El Pais! I am genuinely honoured to be on your cover and so happy you licensed a pic by @ruvenafanador, who always makes me feel gorgeous. BUT this is NOT what my body has ever looked like or will ever look like- the magazine has done more than the average photoshop. So if you're into what I do, why not be honest with your readers? Much love, Lena.” 

On Tuesday, El Pais responded to her post with an open letter claiming it had bought the image from the Corbis photo agency and had not altered it in any way, except to crop it. 

“As you know, we have dedicated the front cover of our March issue to you,“ it reads. ”Our intention was to celebrate the success of your show Girls and reflect the impact that you have had as an artist and activist in a number of social and political causes. However, this morning we awoke to find your displeasure.

“For the front cover of the magazine we used an image from the shoot you did in 2013 with the photographer Ruven Afanador, and which was published at the time by Entertainment Weekly. Here at Tentaciones, we acquired the photo via the Corbis agency, and we used the original that they sent us without applying any kind of retouching. Those who are familiar with and follow our magazine will know that we do not use Photoshop nor other digital tools to change the physical appearance of our cover stars, nor in the features to be found inside. On this occasion, the only thing we did was to crop the image to adapt it to the format of our front page.”

It also linked out to the original image shared by Afanador on his Facebook page before offering to send Dunham a free monthly subscription.

“We are delighted to see that you still have your rebellious spirit. Let us have your address and we’ll send you our magazine as a courtesy every month so that you can see for yourself that we like to reflect things the way that they really are.”

Dunham famously defended allegedly altered images of herself in Vogue magazine after the blog Jezebel obtained the original images and highlighted what it believed had been changed. 

“A fashion magazine is like a beautiful fantasy,” she told Slate France at the time. “Vogue isn’t the place that we go to look at realistic women, Vogue is the place that we go to look at beautiful clothes and fancy places and escapism and so I feel like if the story reflects me and I happen to be wearing a beautiful Prada dress and surrounded by beautiful men and dogs, what’s the problem?”

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