More People Should Start Airbrushing Their Facebook Photos
12:30 pm, November 19th | by Sarah Devlin
This morning, Jezebel took on an LA Times feature about the growing market for photo airbrushing services, often used to give people’s social media profiles a little bit of extra oomph.
From the original LA Times article:
But new advances in relatively cheap photo retouching apps and computer software are making it astonishingly simple for anyone to look hot at the push of a button. Computer photo-retouching software options include Portrait Professional (www.portraitprofessional.com, $29.95). Download or buy the CD and it guides you through reshaping your face, smoothing your skin, whitening your teeth and eyes as well as removing pimples, moles and freckles.
Then there’s the Smartphone app designed for both iPhone and iPad called Pimple Eraser, which is sold on iTunes for 99 cents and promoted as a way to “Give yourself clear skin before uploading your next photo to Facebook or Twitter…”
Consumers seem eager to take advantage of the possibilities. Alex Vlachos, owner of Black Frog Industries, the company behind Pimple Eraser, says a free version of the app that’s not quite as advanced as the 99-cent option has been downloaded about 2 million times, largely by consumers in Asia, over a period of about 16 months. He estimated that over the last two years, the paid version of the app had been downloaded between 100,000 and 200,000 times.
Jezebel finds this kind of electronic fiddling deeply narcissistic and sad, and I could agree more.
To make matters worse, narcissism combined (ironically) with a complete lack of self-awareness is bolstering a cottage industry of terrible photographers who make a living slinging poorly composed portraits so heavy-handed on the post-production that their subjects resemble ghosts who were photographed at the moment of nuclear impact. And while this industry, from the look of it, is providing jobs to about 25% of my former high school classmates, it is hurting America and must be stopped. It’s fun to feel like a glamorous celebrity, but it’s not fun — or honest — to portray yourself as one.
However. I also see some potential here. You see, I am part of a large and often silent majority (minority? I don’t actually know) of people who photograph terribly. Anytime someone takes a picture of me that isn’t a candid it’s as though I consciously sought out the worst lighting, the most terrible angles and the wonkiest eye situation available. It is a regular source of embarrassment; I haven’t taken a cute picture in years. I try to combat it by owning all of my worst pictures and never untagging myself in a photo on Facebook simply because it’s unflattering. But think of it this way — if everyone starts airbrushing out their bad skin, whitening their teeth and eliminating their pores, I stand to become part of an increasingly rare elite: the people who look way better in person than they do in their photos. It’s the aesthetic equivalent of a mic drop, and the more people who get on board this ridiculous airbrushing train, the better. Think about it.