From Timothy Ferriss’s Tribe of Mentors, this is a quote from writer/filmmaker Soman Chainani:
There’s this dazzling short story by Ted Chiang called “Liking What You See” that did a number on me. The story asserts that beauty has become a modern-day superdrug, that with filtered and face-tuned social media, retouched models on advertisements, and rampant pornography, we’ve overloaded the senses so that our natural instincts can no longer recognize or react to real beauty anymore. And it’s making us confused and miserable, both in how we judge ourselves and how we judge others. That crystal clear warning—beauty is literally ruining our lives—has improved my life tenfold just by making me consciously aware of it (and by making me ignore 90 percent of what’s on Instagram).
This quote resonates with me on an equally inspirational and hypocritical level.
As a photographer, I have been retouching images for the duration of my career. I believe that lots of people like to view a better version of themselves … And yet the truth is that in split second form, you look almost exactly like you do in any given photo.
Yes, there’s some distortion involved with certain lenses. Hopefully you’re not on the edge of a group shot taken with a wide angle lens. You may incorrectly believe you need to lose some weight. Or you might think your forehead goes on for miles if it’s at the top of a wide angle lens frame.
There are some things, like blemishes, that we all would like to remove from our faces. I have this little white cholesterol deposit thing on my face (in the wrinkle of my right eyelid) that I absolutely hate. So sometimes I remove it in photoshop, other times, I don’t. It’s like a little piece of me. It’s been there for over 15 years.
But pushing in fat. Removing moles that make up someone’s look, I can’t always agree that needs to go.
As riders of this globe around the sun, too many of us have a false sense of beauty. And I’m partly to blame, because while I hate doing it, I also Photoshop, at times, too much. I’m perpetuating an un-genuine perception of beauty. Shame, shame, shame on me.
I would LOVE not to. Maybe I’m addicted. Maybe I have a problem.
“Hello. My name is Jeremy Witteveen. And I’m addicted to perpetuating a false image of beauty via Photoshop.”
It’s food for thought.