What is ‘beauty’? Why do we, as a society, feel the need to fix things that aren’t broken? In creating these images, I was thinking back to my Self, Dark, 2011 self portrait in which I chose not to edit out things like my pores and dry skin because I felt as though they not only added texture and areas of visual interest to the picture, but also because they were a part of the real factor. By creating these flawless images of women in photoshop, we are setting the bar at an unattainable level to match that beauty in real life. Photographers enlarge eyes and lips, remove any and every pore, wrinkle, and zit, sculpt the nose, light the hair, make limbs and torsos longer and skinnier, you name it-they do it. So why do we do it?
These two pairs of images are what I consider to be a ‘beauty’ shot and a more editorial or artistic shot. The beauty shots on the left have been combed over, tweaking things like imperfections of the skin and hair, getting rid of dark circles under the eyes, as well as whitening and general enhancement of the eyes. Some fashion and beauty photographers enlarge the eyes and mouths of the model, but I didn’t want to make my editing so obvious, but perhaps that is something I can play around with in the future. The shots on the right are almost free from editing. The lighting is more dramatic, more evident in the portrait of Rachel than Shannon-Rachel’s face is in half shadow, but Shannon does have more volume to the face and there is a shadow from her bangs at the top.
My point comes across. These are two beautiful women to begin with, airbrushing out undesirable details does not make them more attractive, but almost less interesting. I think we are at a point in advertising where perfect photographs of women are easily forgotten, and that we can now go back to what is real. Things like scars, wrinkles, freckles, tattoos, piercings, etc. are what make people interesting.