It’s the photo that rocked the internet at few weeks ago—and it might not be real. The surprising image of supermodel Cindy Crawford leaked on Twitter from a 2013 Marie Claire Mexico cover story, showed the model looking less than perfect. The photo quickly went viral on social media, with many declaring it inspiring to see a real, not flawless, image of the 49-year-old mother of two. The image stirred plenty of debate over Photoshop and the common practice of making real bodies look so perfect as to be unattainable in real life.
The supposedly unretouched photo of Cindy Crawford from Marie Claire Mexico December 2013
But it turns out the photo might not be real. Photographer John Russo who took the shots has said the photos that everyone saw—aren’t the ones he took. In a statement to ABC News he declared that the image was “stolen or unlawfully accessed and then altered and distributed to the media.”
"It has been falsely claimed that this photograph represents an un-retouched image of Cindy Crawford. This is not true," Russo’s statement read. "It is a fraudulent altered version of my photograph." Why Russo is coming out now—a few weeks later—is unclear.
However, what doesn’t add up to Russo’s claim is Marie Claire’s reaction. When the photo leaked, Marie Claire weighed in, calling the image one that is “…revealing a body that defies expectations—it is real, it is honest, and it is gorgeous.” The post went on to say, “No matter where the photo came from, it’s an enlightenment—we’ve always known Crawford was beautiful, but seeing her like this only makes us love her more.” If the image was doctored and manufactured as Russo claims, why didn’t Marie Claire put out a statement saying it was false? For many, their statement was proof that the photo was real.
Russo on his part is on a campaign to prove the image has been manipulated. His lawyers are threatening lawsuits.
The recent photo of Cindy Crawford from her husband Rande Gerber’s Instagram (Photo: Instagram)
The only response from Crawford’s camp came from her husband Rande Gerber. He weighed in on Valentine’s Day—kind of—with a bikini photo of Crawford on his Instagram. In the snap, there was no cellulite or extra pounds in sight. His shot looked like a bid to prove that the real Cindy Crawford is still looking every bit the supermodel.
Does it matter? What do you think? Until Marie Claire or Crawford weigh in, it will be hard to know what’s reality and what’s being airbrushed.
This video from “The Insider” includes a statement from the photographer himself