After reading about this photoshop experiment: I Asked 21 Photoshop Experts From Around the World to Make Me (A Plus-Size Woman) Beautiful — Here’s What They Did and seeing the results, I was curious what the result would be if I would photoshop the photo. (By the way, High-Five to Iceland!)
I’m no photoshop expert, but I do edit some of my photos, by playing with contrast, light, saturation, more saturation, vintage filters and removing distracting things from the background.
If I am having a particularly bad skin day I will photoshop away any visible blemishes, simply because it’s easier than putting on make-up for the same effect.
I started thinking about what I could change on the photo to make her look more beautiful and the very thought disgusted me. I had not expected that I would feel so strongly about it. I felt like I would be abusing her if I changed the structure or shape of her face. Also I think she looks just fine the way she is, who wouldn’t love to have those fabulous lips!
To be able to do this job you have to believe that there is something wrong with the model, that they are ugly. This is not the case with me, I believe that everyone is beautiful in their own way. (Yes I know #BARF right!) I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t bring myself to send out the message “This woman is ugly and I fixed her” because this also gives the message that “YOU are ugly”, if a fashion model needs to be digitally fixed, how could you think otherwise?
I have always known that photoshopping happens and that seeing overly photoshopped images creates a ‘reality’ that is impossible to achieve. But it was just today that it hit me just how wrong and damaging it really is. I’m a bit slow on the uptake I guess!
Here is the result of my editing, apart from the usual steps mentioned above I also gave the lady lipstick and eyeliner. Then I was getting into the hang of it so I whitened her eyeballs a little bit because they had turned yellow from my overenthusiastic use of the vintage filters! I also removed the wall corner from behind her head. The edits I did were mostly to do with changing light, atmosphere and not really anything to do with the model herself. I was improving the photo, not the subject matter.
The task was to make her beautiful, I think she looks fantastic, but then that little voice in my head asks me; “Does this mean that you believe that you can’t be beautiful without makeup?”. I don’t often wear make-up but there are some situations when I will not go out without it, because I want people to think I look nice. Is that wrong? Possibly, probably, but that is a question for another day.
Looking at my ‘creation’ again I start thinking “Ugg it’s too much, I should tone down the ‘make-up’ a bit”. So even though I did some editing, I still do not feel completely comfortable about it! I’m gonna stick to my retro filters!
Photos used with kind permission from Marie Southhard Ospina