If I had a penny for every time a bridesmaid, mother, senior, wedding industry professional, or person in general told me, “You can just photoshop that out,” I’d be the wealthiest person alive. Believe it or not, I don’t actually own Photoshop, and I have no plans to purchase it. So to answer your question.. no I can’t actually photoshop that out, nor do I want to! Before you think I’m crazy, just keep reading.
I’m not sure when the shift happened, but it was more than likely somewhere between the invention of Photoshop and the recent over-consumption of hollywood media, real became less beautiful than photoshopped. We’re so concerned with taking away wrinkles, eliminating fly-aways, slimming down hips, smoothing faces, removing imperfections, brightening eyes, and changing every unique thing about ourselves. And I sort of feel like we’ve missed the mark on something.
To be honest, I think photographers are a huge part to blame for this expectation that we can “Photoshop anything out,” because a lot still do. I fear that the photography industry as a whole has created damaging expectations. I understand that people want to look their best in images, and that’s why it’s our job as professional photographers to find the best angle, light and pose for our clients.
It’s one thing to retouch a pesky blemish as those aren’t natural characteristics of our clients’ face, and parts of an image that are distracting like a forgotten hair grip on their wrist. But it’s an entirely different thing to alter a person’s face and body by over-smoothing their skin, slimming their waist, extending their jaw line and completely removing their natural facial features. Are we being completely honest when we deliver a fully retouched, slimmed down image to our client and call it a self portrait?
What if we saw more images with fly-aways and natural, dark circles? If you’re a photographer then you’re probably cringing at the idea of sending over an image to your client with out retouching their dark circles, but what if we embraced what we actually looked like, what we saw in the mirror every morning? Would we start to consider it beautiful? Would we proudly display those images in our homes? Would we better understand self-love?
Darling Magazine is the perfect example of a shifting movement toward an attitude of self-love and empowerment, rather than altering images to the standards of media. They don’t Photoshop women’s faces or bodies…AT ALL! How incredible is that? Everything is real!
You might cringe at the idea of untouched images, but I cringe each time I hear that awful phrase, “You can just Photoshop that out.” I hope that we start seeing more media and local photographers take bold moves like that of Darling Magazine. We can’t let Photoshop create an alternate reality for us, and we can’t let the media dictate our view of what real beauty is.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to see where other people stand on this topic!