The Temptation of Photoshop
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Sometimes I see better with my eyes closed. I find this to be especially true when looking at myself. In my mind's eye, my image is just as I remember it and still see it in my wedding photos, now ten years old.
When I open my eyes, I get really specific. I zero in on that new blemish under my nose. I focus on the wrinkles in my brow that grow deeper. I remember that figure drawing class where I discovered just how uneven my features are and that my face gets so wide when I smile.
My image is a pleasant one. I know this from years of reassurance, compliments, and love from those I hold most dear. I am blessed to have been given all that I have. And, yet, I can make it all seem so much less than when I look with my eyes open.
The blogging/social media world has challenged me in all new ways. Posting new avatars and profile pictures comes with the territory. "Selfies" pop up and tagged images make their way back to your page.
And since I can - the temptation to Photoshop is always there. I can retouch, smudge, and erase.
I took pictures with my children on Mother's Day. After everyone was settled into bed, I opened the images in my photo editor. I selected an image that I loved of my daughter and me. I magnified the image, and proceeded to brush off the bags under my eyes, click off the pimple on my chin, and smooth/smudge my brow. I then zoomed out of the image, ready to be pleased with the final photograph.
Instead, I hit the control Z to undo. It didn't work. I could not undo these changes in my appearance.
In my altered snapshot, I looked strangely morphed, slick, and odd. Who was this?
Turned off by this image, I clicked to the next photo of me (bags, lines, and all) and the image of me was much more approachable, warm, and human.
I realized that the bags under my eyes actually make my eyes sparkle a bit and bring prominence to my cheekbones. And that I look more like my children in my natural state, and I find them refreshingly beautiful. And, honestly, my smoothed appearance aged me more.
Editing or correcting took away the beauty that I expect to see in the mirror but rarely recognize. Or perhaps I should say, more fittingly, the beauty I rarely appreciate.
For my daughters and son. For my husband who's always given me the nickname, "Beautiful." For me and my inner joy and satisfaction.
I will look for the sparkle and the beauty before I find the fault. I'm still an artist; I still see the shadows, but I wll not let them define the final impression.
And I will use Photoshop... only sparingly. :)
P.S. Join in the Love Yourself Linkup hosted by Anne, every Tuesday. You'll be surprised how much love comes back your way.