Photo manipulation and body image
You read about big companies altering photographs of models to make them appear thinner, smoother, completely flawless; but you wouldn’t ever expect it to happen to you. I didn’t.
Cosplay is where a lot of my confidence and self-love originated from. I struggle with body image sometimes, and I think a lot of other people do too, but it’s worth the struggle because self-love is everything.
Photo manipulation can be an art form; you can take an image and make something interesting and different. You’re only limited by your imagination. It can be seen as a skilful expression of art. However it is easy to exceed the real and alter the proportions of people until it is no longer art, it’s a lie. We get these overly edited photos of people who do not, cannot in some cases, exist fed to us constantly through advertising and social media. It isn’t natural and these unnatural images can be damaging to how we as individuals view ourselves. We all know it happens, photo manipulation is a big thing in our society and the Cosplay community is no exception, but just because we know it happens, doesn’t mean we are immune to its damaging effect.
I’m not immune to it. At all, and I think I can guess that a lot of you aren’t either.
So what happened?
I had a ‘professional’ studio shoot with two Cosplay friends and all went well. The pictures, although expensive, were great and we got them back the same day! They did not edit our bodies or anything so I happily still post those shots because I own them.
Later on though, I was shown an edited, final, version of one of the portraits of me. It didn’t look like me.
Like everyone, I have good and bad self-image days. This was one of my good self-image days; I looked good! I felt sexy, even. They took my photo and kept my bottom relatively the same size; however my arms, legs and stomach were made to look much thinner, overall more flat in areas where I just did not look like that. It just didn’t look natural.
Having someone take a photo of me and edit it so that I am their version of sexy is hurtful. Like I’m being told by this company that my size isn’t good enough, like it precludes me from being beautiful.
I worked hard to love myself and my imperfections, and sometimes I think maybe I’m wrong and I should be thinner. Something like this, editing my photo to look so different is basically reaffirming the bad thoughts I have had about myself. It adds to this thought that imperfections and different body types aren’t sexy. I am beautiful, I know I am. Heck, so are you!
I think with how easy it is to edit someone now, we all just do it. I know lots of people who would prefer to edit each and every photo they post online. It’s okay to do, if that’s what they need but I think that, as a society, this is a harmful thing to be seen as normal. I can see why some people may choose to do it, but I would prefer to not have my entire body changed. It’s not me, but do remember that this is just how I see it.
What is your opinion on the matter?