I be­held the pho­tog­ra­pher for what he truly was: a wizard

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - BODY TALK -

Have you been fol­low­ing the lat­est celebrity craze? No, I’m not talk­ing about Gwyneth Pal­trow’s rev­e­la­tion that she gets bees to sting her as a form of skin treat­ment, though I could eas­ily dis­cuss that all day. (I’m be­gin­ning to think that Gwyneth might be a par­ody ac­count. She al­ready sells magic dust on her web­site.) I’m talk­ing about the new trend where mega-rich, su­per-fa­mous women com­plain about be­ing air­brushed on magazine cov­ers. In March, we had Lena Dunham claim that a Span­ish magazine used ‘ mad Pho­to­shop’ on a picture of her. Part of Kate Winslet’s con­tract with L’Oréal Singer Lorde is all over In­sta­gram post­ing her nat­u­ral ap­pear­ance ver­sus her air­brushed one. Co­me­dian Amy Schumer is big on the an­ti­air­brush­ing cam­paign trail, too. Per­haps most promi­nently, The Fixer’s Kerry Wash­ing­ton came out rail­ing against a re­touched cover, say­ing, ‘I just felt weary.’ I’m sorry to hear that, Kerry. I un­der­stand that it’s im­por­tant to tell young women that the beauty stan­dards they’re fed are lit­er­ally unattain­able. But for­give me if I can’t re­strain the tini­est eye-roll at these celebri­ties and their pas­sion­ate de­sire to be pho­tographed warts ’n’ all.

On the lo­cal front, TV and ra­dio per­son­al­ity Ler­ato Kganyago was on the re­ceiv­ing end of a Pho­to­shop scan­dal in May. The pub­li­ca­tion for which she posed re­leased the pre- and post-Pho­to­shop im­ages, but to my eye the pic­tures ap­peared pretty sim­i­lar. One ob­vi­ous dif­fer­ence, how­ever, was that they had air­brushed out Ler­ato’s cel­lulite in the pub­lished ver­sion. Twit­ter promptly went nuts. The in­ci­dent left me, frankly, con­fused.

Crit­i­cis­ing the me­dia for body-sham­ing is one of my favourite things to do, so part of me was ea­ger to jump on that band­wagon. hand: don’t you dare Pho­to­shop our celebri­ties too much! On the other hand: don’t you dare show us what they re­ally look like!

I was once tricked by friends into par­tic­i­pat­ing in a pro­fes­sional photo shoot: the kind of pyra­mid scheme that preys upon nar­cis­sis­tic women by of­fer­ing ser­vices for free but then charg­ing you Nkandla rates to buy the ac­tual pho­tos. It was an ex­cru­ci­at­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. The pho­tog­ra­pher was like a real-life Austin Pow­ers, en­treat­ing us to give him ‘more sexy’, ‘more drama’. There is only so much drama I am ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing when pos­ing awk­wardly with my hands on my hips in some sex pest’s boot­leg stu­dio.

When the or­deal was over, he sum­moned up his air­brush tool and pa­tiently went to work on erad­i­cat­ing our many im­per­fec­tions. As I watched him go, I stopped see­ing him as a creepy pa­parazzo. The scales fell from my eyes, and I be­held him for what he truly was: a wizard. He made us look amaz­ing. We didn’t look quite like our­selves, true. We looked like the ver­sion of your­self you have in your mind when you’ve had a hair­cut and a few glasses of wine and think you’re much hot­ter than you ac­tu­ally are. And you know what? I love that ver­sion of my­self.

I’ve never been able to use the pho­tos for any­thing (other than smash­ing them all over Face­book) be­cause they’re not re­ally of me. But if I had the choice, I’d have every snap of me pro­fes­sion­ally re­touched. And if I was ap­pear­ing on a magazine cover? I’d make Pho­to­shop one of my riders, to­gether with a wind ma­chine and a minia­ture pig with which to pose.

This is not Re­becca Davis, but per­haps with some re­touch­ing it could look like her

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.