Friday, August 14, 2015

Rant : This "Project" about "Perceptions of Perfection"


I stumbled across this post from buzz feed about a woman who had her body photoshopped by editors in 18 different countries across the globe.  She asked them to edit her portrait in a way that would make her more attractive to other citizens of their respective countries. I remember seeing the one that inspired this, done with the woman's portrait.
It was a project in order to "better understand potentially unrealistic standards of beauty and to see how such pressures vary around the world, called "Perceptions of Perfection" by https://onlinedoctor.superdrug.com Check it out now before you read the rest of my rant if you are interested.

The images in question and more after the jump;


Linked Image is Property of Perceptions of Perfection at onlinedoctor.superdrug.com
Looks like they definitely hired some budget fiverr'ers to do some of these Photoshop edits though.  But let's not forget what all of these are ; one artists take on the opinions of the rest of their country on a highly subjective matter of taste.

So I see it as more an example of what happens if you loosen the reigns on someone with some photoshop skills (or in some cases here - a lack of such skills).

Having been hired for image editing in the past, this project was likely somewhat misleading to the editors in that, when someone sends you a picture, especially a portrait of what would normally be a very private one like this, they send it because they want you to change something about themselves. They want you to do something to the image that will make them happier with it.  The editors didn't go out actively looking for images to make a mess of and change into new people. Whether it's some crow's feet, a cold sore, or in this case, a lot of the editors focusing on her weight.

Having also been in the situation before where someone hands you free reign to edit an image (although it wasn't a portrait) - is very difficult. You have no idea what they want to see from a finished product. You want to get paid, and you don't want to waste any time.  So to a degree, you almost try to make enough edits that your client notices them, even if you may believe that the image doesn't need any of them - because thats what you think they're paying you for after all!

It's not normally up to the editor to decide what to change, it's up to the client to tell say what they do and don't like.  So expecting them to properly handle 'free reign' they were given on something like this is a bit like locking a cat in a closet with a roll of toilet paper and not expecting a mess when you come back.

A good portrait photographer, who is intent on showing their subject's genuine best side, actually doesn't need any photoshop, just an understanding of light.

That being said, judging by this post, I'd say your best chances of hiring an outsourced photoshopper are going to be from Columbia first and then Romania. haha. They did they most tasteful amount of edits.  See, how I can use this project to make some stereotypes of my own.

A photographer's note; Only a handful corrected the whitebalance which irked me more than a little bit, and some show serious distortion lines from using the liquify filter. Who would deliver that kind of finished product?  lol.

Anyways, thats my little rant on this post I stumbled upon today.  All you need to takeaway from it - is don't judge any people of the countries in that post, based on the work of a single image editor from that country, its as unfair as any other type of racism. 

here are some other similar projects undertaken by some other people with a similar end result;
http://mic.com/articles/98430/here-s-what-happened-when-a-biracial-woman-was-photoshopped-in-18-different-countries

and - the first one I ever saw;
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/26/photoshop-around-the-world_n_5534062.html

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