Celebrities today have a few faces, but, mostly, we see two: the primped, red-carpet ready face, and the raw, sunglasses-clad, “I’m just running to Starbucks in my sweatpants, why do you insist upon photographing me?” face. Falling almost completely off the radar, however, is the face that poses for magazine covers and fashion spreads: the Photoshopped face.
Of course, it’s not always the face in the literal sense. In the case of Kim Kardashian’s leaked pre-Photoshop Complex Magazine cover from this Spring (shown above), cellulite was offender. Kardashian handled the situation with grace, writing in her blog: “So what: I have a little cellulite. What curvy girl doesn’t!? How many people do you think are photoshopped? It happens all the time!”
And she’s got a point—virtually all celebrity covers are Photoshopped, but they’re usually done too well for us to notice. If I saw the Kim Kardashian post-Photoshop picture on the right only, I doubt I would ask if it was true to life, mostly because I’m used to seeing celebrities who are porcelain-skinned, impossibly thin but still curvy, and without so much as a stray hair in sight.
But after seeing Kardashian’s unedited photo, each celebrity magazine cover or ad that comes my way causes me to question what it would look like minus the editing and what would happen if they kept it. Would using a less perfect picture have been as empowering as seeing the beauty in the unedited Kardashian shot? Or is altering the way we look digitally no different from applying makeup and just another part of the art of a Photoshoot that I’m taking too seriously?
What do you think about Photoshopped celebrity photos? Is it harmless? Or is it part of a larger image problem with a simple solution?