Following on from my previous post into Esther Honig’s ‘Before and After’ project, I sent an unaltered image of myself to various retouchers and image editors around the world. Their instruction “Make me more appealing for Instagram”.
Some were carried out as free trials, whilst others I had to pay for. Whether or not an edit has been paid for does not seem to have affected the quality or extent of the edits.
The results are insightful and somewhat intriguing. Each edit offers a glimpse into both the personal and cultural concepts of beauty that their creator has. The edits look as thought thay have been carried out quite crudely in some cases. For example, the editor from Bangladesh has artifically over edited whites of my eyes. They do not look real and it is very obvious that the image has been edited. Others have dramatically changed the shape and size of my face – Canada in particular.
The editing of some images is subtle, whilst others look doll-like and artificial. The skin has been over smoothed and edited a lot (on close inspection, the skin can have the texture of orange peel due to the extensive editing)
I have found this exercise quite amusing. Initially I was concerned by what would be sent back, but now that I have the images I am fascinated by the differences.
Photoshop and phone apps allow us to achieve unobtainable standards of beauty in our selfies. However, if we look at the global standards for beauty and compare ourselves to those, achieving the ideal remains all the more elusive.
The resultant images are below: