By Sophie Kavanagh
The use of Instagram filters is forcing people to be discontented with reality because Instagram is granting us the opportunity to alter it in our photos. Instagram expects that we need/want filters, the feature allowing you to do so appears as an assumption as opposed to an option before you post a picture.
I believe that the psychology of this is something that needs to be strongly addressed by Instagram. The reality is, we don’t all have the glowy hue on our skin that ‘Lark’ provides us with, nor the bronzy ‘Slumber’ tan. We have acne and blemishes, and by use of Instagram filters we are denormalizing these incredibly normal things. Young, impressionable adolescents are exposed to so much artificialness because of it, which has been proven to have a strong correlation to the rising numbers of depression and anxiety in young people today.
Photo editing is a controversial and subjective act, some may find it completely dishonest and deceiving whilst others view it as a skill. In fact, famous Youtuber and makeup guru James Charles would even go as far as saying he believes it is “just as much an art form as actual makeup itself.” In this instance he is speaking specifically about the use of Facetune, an application that can be downloaded on iPhone or Android to edit and touch up photos to its users’ preference.
I believe James’ statement is circumstantial. Everyone can appreciate the aesthetics of a beautiful photograph. However, whether it be the sun shining luminous rays on Eyre Square, or a human being, smiling, showcasing their natural human qualities and features. Both type of photograph can be beautiful, but which one would be detrimental to societal norms if it were to be edited? I think the answer is obvious.
Facetune can erase blemishes, smooth skin and whiten teeth. But how much is too much, where is the line drawn? Do we draw the line at one tiny pimple being edited from one’s forehead? How does this make a young girl struggling with acne feel about herself, if the norm being portrayed by Instagram is to have completely clear, smooth skin? It would be absolutely detrimental to anyone suffering with acne’s confidence and self-esteem.
However, the sad reality is that editing will forever be part of our photo sharing lives. Technology like this simply can’t be reversed or taken away. We would never go back to washing all our clothes by hand despite having the technology of a washing machine to make it easier and better. The same principle applies. The best thing that can be done for this photo-editing and face-tuning era is management. By this I mean educating the public on the truths of photo editing with full transparency. Applications like Facetune should enforce a logo on the photos that are edited by the app to advertise the photo has gone through Facetune first, before having been posted.
I hope that in 2019, new rules and attitudes can be implemented into the world of photo editing among businesses and society especially. No one deserves to feel as though they need to edit their photos in order to fit in with what society today believes “beauty” is. After all, the world would be a very boring place if we were all the same. Beauty is authenticity.