In my digital photography class we had an assignment to take portraits and use both Lightroom and Photoshop to enhance the subject’s skin. Since I don’t know anyone in Georgia, I decided to do some headshots for my husband. Per usual, he had me laughing pretty much the entire time, cracking jokes and making faces.
After I got some good snaps, I read the full assignment which required me to smooth the skin’s surface and remove any blemishes. I thought about this for a minute, then proceeded to go through the steps to making his face look like a newborn baby’s bottom.
Once I was finished, I saw that all his beautiful freckles were gone. My heart hurt a little bit. Something that makes my husband so handsome and unique, wouldn’t show through in his portrait. I always say his freckles are like the stars in the night’s sky – there are just too many to count but I love them all. He smiles when I say this and gives a little laugh.
When we drastically alter our appearance with Photoshop, it changes us. This very act takes away what makes us unique. I am guilty of this. A year ago I discovered an app called FaceTune. The app gave anyone with a phone the ability to smooth their face to appear pore-less and without lines. I edited all my pictures, removing even the slightest wrinkle or line. Soon I realized I was taking away from me, my experiences and the story my face tells.
I now prefer to take pictures of nature and not myself. Selfies were never really my thing, but I acquiesced at times when with friends. Photography allows me to step outside myself and find beauty in the things and spaces around me. It feeds my soul and gives me joy. Looking back, editing my face seems so menial and vain. There is much more beauty in what is real and imperfect.