I’m always sad to realize how easily tricked people are by images.
I work as a photographer, but also as a model, and sometimes as a photoshop editor, so, I know the tricks. I know them well. Maybe my eyes are used to see the truth behind, so I’m not even paying attention any longer ?
But seeing the growing insecurities and complexes people (and, let’s be honest, when I say people, I think mostly women) seem to get nowadays from the amount of images bombarded at us, from the medias, in fashion, magazines, movies, or on street boards ; I can’t help to question my own work and the impact of these images I produced, too.
Last year I’ve been trying to progressively shoot and post pictures that feel more sincere to me, more natural, closer to what I see and what I want to show. That might make some laugh, since I work mostly with natural light, and I know I’m considered like an already-very-light-handed photoshopper in my work. And although it’s true I photoshop little to nothing, it also raises the question of the “honesty” of a picture. Of course we shoot on flattering lights (in a way, for me, it’s all about it). Of course we will twist a body to make it looks the way we find beautiful, and try to catch the best angles so the features of a face are the most pleasant, or striking, the expression we are looking for…. When it’s what we want to show. Sometimes it’s not even a conscious act any longer, it’s like, a reflex. But I reckon we shoot the same a landscape or a still-life : composition, light, balance, that’s what matters. It’s always a kind of scenery. I’m not a photo-reporter, I’m not showing dramatic events and politics. I’m not shooting factual or hyper-realistic ; I’m shooting the beauty of a moment, or a creation. I think. I fancy thinking my photography works are like visual poems. I’m attracted to emotions, and beauty yes, and the emotions this beauty will convey - be it a wonderful face or a perfectly shaped architecture, or a sunray or a pattern - and beauty is a very fluid and different concept for any of us. Still, it is my job to create appealing pictures.
So I won’t feel bad for enhancing some beautiful subjects, or taking flattering pictures of them. But when it comes to people, there is an issue, because we grew so accustomed with the heavy editing we don’t even realize it’s an image, a screened-window on reality, not the reality.
I’ve seen my fair share of skin texture and colours and depth and relieves, eyebags, bruises, cellulites, stretch marks, ingrown hair, scars…. I also struggled with my perception of my own “bad skin”. I remember saying countless times to any model worrying about “a little zit on my bum” or they so-called “bad-skin-today” that EVERY ONE has pores, zits, skin blemishes and imperfections that make us humans, and that’s fine and don’t make you less beautiful or less interesting. Then I suppose in this sea of perfected images, we need lots of reminder.
I shot this as a kind of scale. One picture without any edition, raw as it came. The next one, just the slightest usual light and color correction.
The third picture my face wears only foundation.
The last one shows a little make-up and small photoshop-retouching.
Compare by yourself.
I insist on the fact this is just an example of the effects of very minor editing. See the difference it already makes, and imagine how far we could go. I chose to shoot this on period, cramping, tired, with a non-flattering and simple day light ; however this is what I considered a very good skin day - no break-out, usual eyeballs, the shadow of a sunburn. I think it’s also interesting to see how it shows the face’s asymmetry.