A couple of weeks ago, a photo of Beyonce posted to her Tumblr account was called onto the carpet and not a red one for being a very clear case of (bad) Photoshopping. There was a very obvious alteration to the image made more painfully obvious by the mysterious slope in the stairs behind her perfectly spaced thigh gap. If this was not a case of Photoshop foolery, the Carters better be careful young Blue Ivy doesn’t stumble down that warped yacht staircase.
Sadly, that was not the first time Beyonce had been called out for altering her candid photos, but to be fair she is only one of a slew of celebrities to tamper with their social snapshots. What started off as simple and standard in app filters to enhance a tan, deflect less than stellar skin, or add artistic flair has turned into full blown post production photographs worthy of five figure paychecks. Isn’t social media a place where celebrities should be better able to connect with fans? You know, celebrities, they’re just like us. Ideally, social media should be a place for celebrities to take on more human personas as opposed to their perfectly airbrushed alter egos.
Models and actors are already Photoshopped to within inches of their lives for ads, interviews, and endorsements, but most of the masses realize that much of that is simply smoke and mirrors. Obviously, glossy magazine spreads and movie posters are all part of the job description and many Photoshop fails have come at the hands of professional retouchers employed by major publications and big brands, but when has it gone too far?
When there is no longer a line between reality and fantasy, how are we, as mere mortals, supposed to digest this photographic perfection? How are young girls not to feel bad about themselves after seeing their idols looking like they really did wake up like that- AKA, full hair and makeup? Listen, if I don’t have a thigh gap, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Queen Bey does not either. While, I may be able to call out “fauxtos” for what they really are, what about those who take these digital masterpieces more literally? Are we only exacerbating the ideal of unachievable perfection?
So, how exactly are celebrities stepping up their Instagram game beyond basic filters? Well, there are plenty of apps available now (one of which I used in the photograph above that is worth downloading for sheer entertainment purposes), that allow for serious digital makeovers. Some of them are essentially equivalent to using a desktop version of Adobe Photoshop on your smartphone. You can smooth out skin, nip, tuck, and even whiten teeth making it nearly impossible to ever take a bad photo again. But what is the point of sharing moments that are anything but authentic? I believe the “Insta” part of Instagram is meant to imply that we are sharing the moment as we’re in it (since we all know it never happened unless it’s documented on social media). It’s bad enough that we watched the sun set the screen of our iPhone, must we waste another twenty minutes applying the perfect filters?
Last week new photos of Beyonce wearing yet another bikini materialized on the world wide web, presumably to back pedal her previous posts, but what it’s really done has given us a vehicle for side by side comparison. Celebrities, they’ll never learn… just like us.
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