How Fake Are Your Photos?

We are fortunate to live in an age where cameras are literally in the palms of our hands.

With filters and photoshop we can airbrush ourselves to look like our ideal model.  Eliminating wrinkles, pinching in the inches and even transferring ourselves into a dream location is just a click away.

So … how fake are your photos? 

Instagram Challenge 2020 -v- 2030?

At the start of the year, I saw lots of people taking part in the 10 Year Challenge.  This got me wondering how it will play out in 2030 with the current overuse of photo apps altering the way people look.

Will you look 20 when you were in fact 40?  Or a size 6 when you’re a 16?  Will your photo album be full of rabbit ears and whiskers?  Or will your face resemble a cartoon character; super-smoothed with big bulging eyes  unrecognisable in reality?  

Are you confident you will be able to look back on your photos in years to come and know what was actually real?

Photoshop Overkill.      Is it time to rein in the airbrushing?

Without a doubt, photoshop is an essential tool for photographers and artistic creators.  I love it and use it all the time.  I can turn a mediocre photo into something quite special and let’s face it, it can be a huge confidence booster when used correctly.   However, for everyday photos, the snapshot memories of lives, isn’t it time we kept it real and reined in some of the airbrushing?

We all want to look our best in photos and I’m not saying we should stop using editing apps.   However, flattering light and angles will avoid the need to excessively edit ourselves into non-reality.   Spot removal and some skin softening is, in my opinion, similar to good make-up.   I feel it’s ok to enhance and fix issues but you have to know where to draw the line.    And there are a lot of people crossing the line especially on social media.

Yes, I get that some filters can be fun but, if you go overboard on the airbrushing, you’re likely to be over critical of yourself.  Especially when you look in the mirror and see the real you.   The result of this may lead to an unhealthy attitude in the way you feel about yourself.  This is more concerning than ever for the younger generation who are growing up in a “socially perfect world”.    

The impact of airbrushing on Social Media

With the availability of photo apps on our phones, many people will transform a photo in an instant.   Social media has created a nation eager to receive “likes” and “hearts” on their photo even if it makes them unrecognisable in the real world. 

Up until the time I learnt photography (13 years ago), I honestly believed models in magazines looked the way they did purely because of the lighting and make-up.  The introduction to photoshop was revolutionary for me at the time.  I’m not going to lie,  I found it quite amazing and still do.

The difference now is you have a camera on your phone + photoshop apps/filters + celebrities and influencers showing their perfect face, body and life on social media.   This isn’t once a month when a magazine is published.  It’s every day multiplied by the number of people you follow.  When you’re exposed to hundreds of  perfect photos daily, it’s inevitable you will start to compare … and possibly compete.

You’ve altered your looks, will you change the scene?

In addition to the airbrushing apps which change your appearance, you can also transport yourself to new surroundings with photoshop.

Last summer, my son and I visited The View at the Shard in London and to prove it, below is photo of us  ready to clean the windows!

Fake photo at The Shard London using Photoshop

It’s quite obvious this photo is digitally altered.   I can say with confidence that my son and I did not go window cleaning 800 feet high!

Maybe I’m being a killjoy not wanting to be photoshopped into unrealistic backgrounds but I’ll take that rather than looking back on photos which don’t represent the moment in time.   (In fact, I only purchased the above photo when I decided to write this post and I do have my own photos of our visit.)

What do your photos mean to you?

With social media, I think it’s easy to forget why our personal photos are so important.     Photos not only become memories for ourselves, they become memories for the generations who follow us.  When we have gone to pastures new, high in the sky, who will know the truth behind the photos which exist today. 

Take a look at your photos.   Are you losing all sense of reality creating perfection?  

 

Note:   Sharing the above photo is by no means to discredit the photography of MagicMemories at The Shard but purely to highlight the fake world we are living creating perfection.  At the time of publishing this post, there is a proposed new law being presented to Parliament which, if passed, would mean influencers  and companies would have to state whether a human body part has been altered.   If and how this will work remains to be seen but it will be interesting to what happens.