Images: Before and After

While it’s no secret good makeup and lighting can drastically change a persons appearance, Photoshop moves beyond these tricks to drastically alter images. Every single image released by the media – thats magazines, catalogues, advertisers, everything – has been Photoshopped into something inhuman. Below are some examples, taken from the sites Beauty Redefined and denisesalceda.com. It’s clear even the people we consider most beautiful aren’t perfect enough according to our societal standards.

Retouching can vary from simply adjusting lighting to removing blemishes and smoothing out the skin to physically altering the person’s body, making them skinnier, more muscular, etc. Sometimes there are obvious signs, such as missing legs, fingers, awkward angles, but often the person appears normal, untouched.

Britney beforeNafter

Britney before and after showing just how much the computer can change.

Madonna beforeNafter

Another famous celebrity, Madonna, before and after with perfect, glowing skin.

Kate Middleton. You can see her already tiny frame was shrunk even more for the cover.

Kate Middleton. You can see her already tiny frame was shrunk even more for the cover.

Another widespread trend is whitewashing, shown here with Beyonce's drastically altered skin for Loreal.

Another widespread trend is whitewashing, shown here with Beyonce’s drastically altered skin for L’Oreal.

Looking through image after image perfected for magazines, comparing them to their unaltered companions, what concerned me the most was how normal the Photoshopped images seemed. Only when mistakes are made and limbs are accidentally cut off, or we have another image to compare to, do we realize how much an image has been altered.

Airbrushing removes all the little imperfections that makes us who we are. The computer drives our features more towards the norm, removing any signs of imperfections. Digital alteration is everywhere, no magazine editor or advertiser would dare release an image unedited. These changes create an impossible goal, an unreachable ideal and no one notices.

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