Adobe must be popping bottles this week. Actress Ashley Benson, a star of the hit show ‘Pretty Little Liars’, in her recent Instagram post criticizes the show’s new promotional poster by voicing, “Our faces in this were from 4 years ago…..and we all look ridiculous. Way too much Photoshop. We all have flaws. No one looks like this. It’s not attractive.” Photoshop really couldn’t ask for better press than this! What this is saying is that Photoshop is so astonishingly powerful that you can take yourself not only to a realistic level of perfection, but so far remove yourself from reality that you become a different person. Or an Alien….Or a dog.
[REWIND: Student Photographer Mocks Beauty Industry’s Use of Photoshop]
Image in question courtesy of Ashley Benson via Instagram itsashbenzo
You think a dog is far fetched? It’s not. You want pore-less alabaster skin? Easy. Longer legs, less weight in the hips, and more weight in all the right places? Give me 10 min. It’ll take little more than that to transform Quasimodo into Esmeralda. Ok maybe not by me because I’ll refuse to. Not strictly because of any social conscience, mind you, but also because as Benson put it, no one looks that way, and that then isn’t attractive.
Your Brain & How To Think About Photoshop
She’s not the first, and not the last. Whether you agree or not is besides the point. Forever demonized, Photoshop will no doubt be on the receiving end of some bashing, but it’s a highly useful tool when used well, and I think it’s good to take a second to understand something from a photographic perspective. It’s understood that the human brain tends to remember how a face looks as the eyes see it from around 10-12 feet away. This is why when you unite under the mistletoe this holiday season, to the person on the receiving end of your kiss, happy about it or not, you won’t look disproportionate as you come within a an inch of their face. Their eyes are seeing a huge nose, wide cheeks, and oddly shaped head due to proximity, but their brain is adapting the view and transforming it to look sort of like how it remembers it from 10-12 feet away. Normal and nice.
It’s understood that the human brain tends to remember how a face looks as the eyes see it from around 10-12 feet away
Photogs get this because we see it easily when contrasting images from say the flattening compression of a telephoto lens, to the warping look of a wide angle. I bring this up because when we see other people we generally view them from a more flattering perspective, and we remember that image in fleeting flashes of thought. A photograph, however, stays. A photo captures a moment that is usually gone in a flash, and therefore you can focus on this momentary image in a way normally impossible. This allows you to really look and notice abnormalities, little flaws, and lack of symmetry that in person you wouldn’t ‘see’. This, is where and why, I feel Photoshop should be used on people; To do the minimum to an image so it appears how you would generally see it, maybe with a spot or two removed. The idea then is not to use Photoshop to create a new person, but to strip away what’s distracting, and to reveal the person.
What say you? Do you like photoshopping yourself or others to look unreal or totally different? Do you think Photoshop is unnecessary? Better yet, show us some sample of your photo work, and I’ll give my feedback. You can follow Ashley Benson on Instagram here.