The video “The Power of Adobe Photoshop” (watch below) has been making the rounds on the Internet (and Babble news blogger Meredith Carroll has already explained what it means for her as a mom). In just 37 seconds, it shows you how a model goes from pretty to “perfect” — thanks to makeup, lighting, and, of course, Photoshop.
I remember in high school, flipping through fashion magazines with friends, words like bitch would fly around as insecurity and jealousy bubbled up inside our young and incredibly vulnerable minds. For some reason though, even then I knew that the photos were being retouched, and I’d assure everyone that it was the lighting and angles and editing — not reality. I’d argue that there was NO WAY she could even look like that … whoever “she” was. But logic tends to be dismissed when berating ourselves for not being perfect feels so right.
On one hand, I get it — I edit my own photos before putting them on my blog, but not by any means to the extent in this video. The sad thing is, since we are so used to seeing this type of perfection, it’s become what we expect to see. If we don’t, we tend to point out the flaws rather than seeing the image for what it is: reality.
Not only are cameras amazing at blurring lines now, but lighting, poses, angles, and yes, photo editing, have so much to do with the final image we, the consumers, see. I think by now, we’ve all come to understand this as part of the world we live in. For instance, I’m sure anyone would ask their wedding photographer to edit a pimple out of their wedding photos so as not to be reminded of it every time they look at their album. But obviously magazines and the countless other visuals we absorb on a daily basis continue to go too far. They over-edit and retouch everything to an unrealistic finality that no one, even the model in the image, can live up to.
I’m generally on the fence about how heated to get when seeing these types of videos anymore, as we’ve all been exposed to them time and time again. I wonder if, instead of getting angry about it, the next time we gasp over how thin a model’s thighs are while flipping through a magazine, we just acknowledge that it’s not realistic instead of comparing ourselves to it. It’s what has worked for me all these years.