David Brauer debunks Barb Johnson's claim of photo manipulation

The cover Barb Johnson claims was altered ... to make her prettier.

The cover Barb Johnson claims was altered ... to make her prettier.

It's not the coiffe, it's the cover-up.

David Brauer has just filed a MinnPost dispatch putting the lie to Barb Johnson's claim that City Pages manipulated her image on the cover 5 years ago to make her teeth whiter and her lips fuller.

The Minneapolis City Council President bizarrely used this as the explanation for having to spend campaign money on $90 haircuts, although that fails to account for all the money on other personal luxuries, like Internet and cable TV (perhaps that's TV Guide's fault?).

Here's how the Star Tribune described the odd testimony:

The matter arose after City Pages alertly noticed that a number of Johnson's reported campaign expenses seemed at first blush not to be related to her campaign. But the weekly publication also popped up during Johnson's testimony, with one exhibit showing a cover photo of Johnson from five years ago. Johnson testified that her teeth had been altered in the photo and her lips made more full.
Brauer gets to the bottom of it:

I found the cover in question, from 2004, which we'll get to in a minute. But first, I called the photographer who took the image, Raoul Benavides. "It wasn't enhanced by me or the art director," he said. "It wasn't that kind of story."

City Pages art director Nick Vlcek concurs. While he will color-correct photos, he says he "absolutely would never" alter the geometry of Johnson's facial features.

"I wouldn't have done that stuff, no," he says. "I remember that shoot, we were all at City Hall, it was a wole big deal. The story was, 'Here's a person you may not know.' How she looked had nothing to do with" the cover concept.

But don't take our word for it. Check out the side-by-side comparison. Who are you going to believe, Barb Johnson or your lying eyes?