Humour: ‘Filtered’ beauty

It's the age of Photoshop and editing!

For that perfect photo

There are no bad pictures, that’s just how your face looks sometimes.”

Abe Lincoln is supposed to have said this. I wonder who he said that to and if the person was convinced of the profound truth in that brutal statement. Maybe not. Because, while we all accept that photographs don’t lie, we hold that for whatever reason, our photographs were exceptions.

Once at a photo studio, I refused to accept the photos given, insisting they were not mine. The woman in the picture, I pointed out, had just jumped the jail.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t prove my identity by showing my Aadhar card. For, that had a picture of the woman taken by the police before she was handed the jail uniform.

I was unaware of the winds of change sweeping the field of photography till Lakshmi very enthusiastically held me down at her place with three mega-sized albums of her daughter’s wedding. “I won’t force you to see them all,” she said, with great understanding, “just look at my close-up photos.” She deftly turned the pages till the earmarked ones were reached.

“Wow!” I exclaimed in disbelief. “You look so nice, Lakshmi,” I said and blurted out, “Who did your make-up?”

“The photographer did,” Lakshmi said with a big laugh and went on to update me on photo-editing.

“It is magic. My wrinkle lines and crow’s feet are erased, the dark circles under the eye are gone, the skin looks spotless and polished. This is my dream face and even if it isn’t the real me, the feel-good I get looking at these photos is real. This technology is truly marvellous.”

Blemish fix, smoothing, reshaping body and face, touch up, brightness adjustment, I learnt that photography is no longer about being truthful to the subject. I had my next level of education when a smartphone reached my hands. I was surprised to see that even my not-so-fancy mobile camera had a selfie setting called ‘beauty face’. I clicked my first ever selfie and was pleasantly surprised to see the photograph far exceed my expectations.

Yes, my face was blemish-free, fuller… I finally had the answer to what drives the selfie craze and why the mobile phones ads were trumpeting the camera features of their phones more than the talking features.

Of course, everybody loves a flattering photo of themselves with suitably enhanced backdrops, and of course, they would rush-post it on Facebook so the whole world could see it.

I have a small problem with my selfie pictures. Though I am secretly pleased with them, I can’t get rid of the imposter guilt. It’s the mirror that is creating the conflict and playing spoilsport.

If only we had smart mirrors that would reflect blemish-free, suitably modified faces. Bingo! That’s going to be the next game-changing innovation. Mark my words, the product will hit the market sooner than you think and take the world by storm.

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