As a photographer, I always strive to create art that shows my clients at their very best. I find good lighting, shoot from their more flattering angles, draw out their personality, and in Photoshop, I will edit the image to bring my vision to life. My clients hire me because they want to look attractive, beautiful, lively … but still themselves. For a portrait to stand the test of time and remain impactful, it has to maintain a high degree of authenticity.
And so when I look at virtually every single piece of fashion and commercial advertising out there, I am simultaneously intrigued and troubled by the extensive use of makeup, photoshop, and ridiculously beautiful models. We are constantly bombarded with messages that entice us towards a standard of perfection that is not only unnatural, but frankly impossible. And by impossible, I mean the fact that even when celebrities and models have gone through hours and hours of makeup application, their pictures still have to be extensive edited before they’re approved for publication. Facial imperfections are removed, thighs are slimmed down, the skin is lightened, noses are minimized, bust lines are raised, eyes are repositioned, etc etc. I don’t mean to bag on makeup artists or models at all, and I have friends in both industries whose work I highly respect. What I am trying to say is this: what is expected is something not even the most beautiful among us can attain.
We protest that true beauty is within. We say that we just need to “be ourselves.” (But what does that mean, anyway?) However, the truth is, we are still a product of our environment, and none of us–whether guy or girl–can escape that subconscious realization that we are not measuring up.
So when the fashion magazine French Elle decides to publish an issue featuring eight celebrities without makeup or Photoshop of any kind, it’s cause for some degree of celebration. Sure, these celebrities are incredibly good looking to begin with, but a decision like this gives me hope that at least some imagemakers are feeling a little pressure to return to something real and authentic. (via The Frisky)
What do you think? Beauty is something we should all strive for in life, whether it’s in our appearances or our work or our relationships. Yet how do we balance the pursuit of genuine beauty against the media’s unhealthy standards? And do you think that decisions in the commercial world, like this “no makeup” magazine issue and Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, might slowly turn into a trend away from our current plasticized/botoxed/photoshopped version of beauty toward something more natural?