Airbrushing – the process of smoothing the skin, tightening the hips and eliminating imperfections. It’s exclusive to bedroom amateurs and glossy magazines right? Wrong. It turns out even royalty can’t escape a little digital fiddle.
News broke yesterday that Prince William and his fiancé, the future Queen of England – Kate Middleton’s official engagement portraits were digi-fiddled by their photographer Mario Testino before they were released. Congratulations Mario. What lovely pictures they are.
One insider said “the final portraits amount to a piece of art, rather like the official paintings that would have been done in previous generations, and so they were touched up a little to get them just right.”
…to get them just right? Does that not imply that before said alterations were made, they were wrong? Their faces were wrong? A face cannot be wrong. A face is a face. There are no right or wrong answers here. Even those faces I’d describe as hellishly unattractive I wouldn’t describe as wrong. Well, apart from this one, anatomically speaking.
The source later insisted that nothing had been done to alter the couple’s appearances. Changes were “more likely to have been increasing the contrast between their clothes and the background colours.”
Habitual hogwash is no better than facial fakery. How far do these environmental inaccuracies stretch? I’ve never been inside a royal palace. How am I to know that the entire place isn’t a post-production mock-up? The Royal Family could live on a council estate in Merseyside for all I know.
Whether a little or a lot, airbrushing does not offer an accurate reflection of life. The world doesn’t look like it does in modern photography. It’s inherently duller, with less contrast between colours, less light and less happiness. That’s the way I’d like to view it. By constantly attempting to readjust every image we capture, we’re airbrushing the face of Mother Nature. Denying the world of its genuine attributes.
Furthermore we’re promoting unrealistic physical goals to generations of impressionable youngsters. Listen kids, nobody looks like Kiera Knightley. Not even Kiera Knightley.
Sadly the concept of post-production extends above beyond the realms of photography and into music. 15 years ago most would question what auto-tune was. Now it seems you can’t listen to mainstream radio without being exposed to its treacherous ubiquity.
Those in favour may simply suggest that enhancing the voice via auto-tune make for a pleasurable audio experience. I say; if your voice can’t provide me with a pleasurable audio experience unaffected – get off the mic. You shouldn’t be releasing records. You shouldn’t be in a recording booth. You whore.
If Manny Pacquiao was to enter the ring with machete in hand, ready to face his opponent, sure it’d make for a more entertaining visual experience, watching the live butchery of Floyd Mayweather, Jr. but in reality it’s an unfair advantage. Just like auto-tune.
If the wisdom and acumen of modern philosopher Christina Aguilerastotle was indeed correct, we wouldn’t need editing. But it seems that she was horrifically mistaken. A more accurate chorus would have been penned:
We all look like shit
In every single way
But a vast library of expensive post-production techniques can ensure we look better than is humanly possible
Admittedly it’s not very catchy. But it’s the truth.
Soon it’s going to be very difficult to differentiate actual talent from fabricated talent. It’s difficult now, but in 20 years time we’re all going to be walking holograms with pristine, radiant faces and an extensive vocal range. Like the love child of Mariah Carey and… Mariah Carey. Which, on the face of it sounds like a lot of fun. Until you remember it’s not real.
Remember back in school when your teacher would say “you can cheat, but you’d only be cheating yourself”? That’s what we’re doing. Mankind is cheating itself, beating itself into believing everyone is capable of singing and looking unnaturally attractive. I can’t. You can’t. We can’t.
A generation of vain posers has given way to a generation of self-deception. Well you can’t fool me.
Article first published as Airbrushing: An Era of Erroneousness on Technorati