Photoshop revelations

*image via manitou2121

Blogging has led me to a new desire to actually take decent photos.  In this pursuit I was browsing photography books and found top 10 photoshop tricks.  One of them took a teen's blemishes and eliminated them.  Another one, took an older woman with quite a few wrinkles and virtually erased her wrinkles, making her look 20 years younger.  My jaw was dropping at that one.

I suddenly had this moment of realization that everything around me, every single darn photo, magazine cover, book that I looked at was photoshopped.  After I told my husband this, he looked at me with a deadpan face and said "you didn't know that?"  Well I did know it, I just never thought about it much. I walk past a newstand and see a flawless photo of some celeb and I just ingest it without thinking.  Suddenly I was looking all around me, marveling at the artifice of it all.

I have mixed feelings. If all my teen photos were touched up to remove every zit I ever had, would that really be a true reflection of my past? Or would it be a fantasy? I have the same mixed feelings about the blogosphere sometimes.  I love blogs that are beautiful. But beauty is is often just capturing a fleeting moment of isolated perfection.  Reality is often filled with mess.  And I wonder, am I contributing to the artificiality by blogging selectively and picking inspiring images?

But then how is an old-fashioned scrapbook any different?  You don't put bits of trash and gas station receipts in your scrapbook.  And unless you're a masochist, you don't scrapbook about your most embarrassing moments or big family fights.

I'm not a proponent of artificiality, but life is so fleeting... is it so wrong to cherish those little moments of beauty that slip through our fingertips?

Besides, its just what most of us do naturally - forget the bad times and remember the good.  Three cheers for that!


  1. I don't mind some talk of style and a few stories in which everything flows smoothly and easily and reads like a Martha Stewart script, but I've become extremely suspicious of blogs where everything seems perfect. That's not real and I just cannot identify or maintain interest in something not rooted in reality a little bit. I actually prefer the blogs in which the authors reveal their insecurities, their mistakes, their most embarrassing moments - sprinkled of course with lighter entries on good recipes, pretty handmade curtains whipped up from vintage pillowcases, etc. I'm beyond that stage in life where I need to make everything look nice and am more interested in making real connections, talking about real things, and keeping a sense of humor about day-to-day life.

  2. Hey Amy, you always have interesting perspective! I like reading your blog, because you are so real about what's on your mind. I think I have a foot in both worlds. I love the construction of beautiful worlds, but also authenticity and grit. Seems like an impossible balance. But not too hard for me at the moment since my blog is pretty darn confessional and not too gorgeous or highly produced ;-)

  3. I'm not sure it's an impossible balance, but it is certainly a tricky one. It's part of the reason I had one blog then shut it down and took almost a year to start another one. I wanted balance, continuity, but something that allowed all my "sides" expression. I'm still working on it - and as you've said it's an enlightening experience of exploration and discovery. This is a blog that I think achieves a nice balance of style and pretty and real-life confession.

  4. Amy, just saw this today and it totally speaks to what we're talking about! Check it out! http://www.abeautifulrippleeffect.com/2009/12/small-is-beautiful/