Photo editing: done in magazines, the Internet, books, and with new apps popping up and more people using computers, we can do it on social media or right in our very own home without hiring a professional. But because now anyone can do it, anyone will have the same tendency to abuse that privilege and start letting Photoshop dictate their happiness. I used photo editing so irresponsibly that I let it do that to me.
I had my fair share of insecurities when normal children would be too young to care. The first rude awakening was after school, on the first day of kindergarten, one of my classmates came up to me and he said, “You have hair here!” as he rubbed his upper lip with his finger. Back then, I laughed it off and ignored him, but I didn’t tell anyone how much it hurt. I asked my mother if I could start waxing my facial hair right away and she agreed. First grade, someone else told me I had a unibrow. My mother started tweezing and waxing my brows ever since. I’d proudly take photos after a nice waxing session, but hide if there was a camera nearby and I still had some hair in unwanted areas of my face. I dreaded skipping makeup and contact lenses because they took away the noticeability of my facial hair.
One day, I took this wonderful selfie that I wanted to make my profile picture. Only problem was that there was a little hair that looked like a blackhead, and it was sticking out right above my eyelid. That day, I discovered my first photo editing website. I found that it could do anything: brighten my photo, saturate it, make it black and white, add colorful filters, airbrush, whiten my teeth, brighten my eyes, paint mascara and lipstick, make me look thinner and allow me to morph my own face and body. I simply blemished the blackhead out of my photo and that was that. Little did I know that this case would come more frequently and I’d become more obsessed to the point where I’d look like a painting in the resulting photo. On the other hand, I felt so insecure about myself because I knew that what I saw wasn’t the real me. In comparison to other girls’ photos, I seemed to fall short and only edited myself even more.
Airbrushing and wrinkle removing became automatic for me. I’d do it anywhere, from my double chin to my arms to my hair. Even if there wasn’t a blemish, I’d use it “just in case” or to look smoother. I’d even perform virtual plastic surgery and make my nose or my cheeks look smaller. I loved photo editing, but taking the photos themselves were dreadful because I knew I would shoot some really terrible ones. If I ate something beforehand or if I didn’t brush my hair, it was all over. I thought that the “at least I have Photoshop” excuse would help if I took a candid I didn’t like, but it really didn’t do anything. It got to a point where I hated taking photos all together and I didn’t take selfies for months. Once I jumped into the Instagram wagon, I started taking photos of myself again.
The only way I now edit my photos is through a photo filter app called VSCOCAM, and I generally use the same filter but switch the brightness, saturation and temperature schemes. Once in a while, I will remove a scratch or whatever, but that’s it. Never will I ever airbrush excessively or morph my body again. Sure, I probably won’t ever become an Instagram model with my knee scabs, or if I don’t lengthen my legs to look 5’7″, but I don’t want to create my “ideal” physicality out of my body. I already have a real one, so why go far and beyond to change it when I can just learn to love it the way it is?
Do you ever use Photoshop? What are your experiences with it?