I’m not an editor. I’m a storyteller and I refuse to change yours.
I’m so passionate about this topic but first, let me tell you about a time when my youngest son was 4 years old. We were about to get his kindy photos taken. The photographer was so lovely, surrounded by crazy chaos! My son was sat up on the chair and gave the cheesiest grin…such a cutie. Straight after the shot was taken, the photographer turned to me and said
“He’s so cute…and don’t worry about that scar, I can get rid of it for you.”
and with a wink, she thought my reaction would be one of enthusiastic thanks. But instead, I said…“ummm…no, that’s ok, his scar can stay. It’s part of him and I actually think he’d look less like himself without it. So yeah, just leave it on his face, thank you.” The scar she was referring to was one under his eye which he gallantly received when he tripped over the rim of the shower screen and landed on his face…ouch indeed!
Since then, I’ve been all about leaving well enough alone but the pinnacle of my Photoshop abstenance came about a few years ago when I was doing a fashion shoot for an online store. A model had reached out to me, who was perfect for the bohemian style we were creating, so we organised an outdoor shoot.
When she arrived, she showed me a few mosquito bites that she was worried would show up on the photos and I told her it was fine…I’d be able to get rid of those in Photoshop. The shoot went SO great…from the perfect locations, to the amazing outfits and of course, our model, who seemed to just gel everything together perfectly. I couldn’t wait to get home and have a look at the photos. After a few days, the photos were all edited and ready to go…with not a mosquito bite in sight!
Not long after I’d sent the photos through to our model did she email me back with a few concerns.
Here’s a list of what she wanted changed in the photos:
- hair to be darker
- skin to smoother
- skin to be a shade lighter
- ALL cellulite to be smoothed out (she hardly had any but that’s not the point)
- ALL stretch marks to be removed (she had but 3 light stretch marks and again, that’s not the point)
- birth mark on chest to be removed
- eye colour to be changed
- excess fat rolls to be smoothed out
- thighs to be trimmed
- laugh lines around eyes to removed
I couldn’t believe it. She wanted to be a completely different person.
All I felt was sympathy for this young woman, who thought that she needed all of the above changed, in order to see herself in anything but a “perfect” light. She wanted to be a totally different person. I told her that I wouldn’t be making those changes. I knew how to make the changes in Photoshop but I wouldn’t do it because the person I’d be creating was not the person that turned up to the photo shoot. How terribly sad that a person couldn’t even look at themselves without nitpicking every single detail about their body and determining that they were not good enough. Not good enough to appear in photos exactly as they were. And we all know this stems from years of conforming to society’s ideals of beauty and what makes someone desirable, even if that ideal is completely unattainable because the actual model it’s based on is so Photoshopped that they, themselves, are also unrecognisable.
I didn’t make the changes and I didn’t use the photos.
That experience is the catalyst to why I don’t alter a person’s body in Photoshop or any software. Mosquito bites, a pimple ….yes…. but stretch marks, scars, cellulite, spider veins, lumps, bumps, birth marks, wrinkles, laugh lines…NO. These are ALL a part of your story. They are ALL chapters that make up YOUR story. And your story is unique. There’s only one. I will not change something that makes you uniquely you. I implore you to accept every single part of you because I do!
I will not be an editor to any chapters of your story.
If you choose to change a part of your body…fantastic! I am totally down for anything that makes you feel good about yourself…but please don’t ask me to do it. Please don’t ask me to turn you in to someone that you’re not because you know what? You’re fucking amazing just as you are!
So, if you want your story to remain untouched…contact me here and let’s shoot! And if not, then unfortunately, I’m not the photographer for you…and that’s cool.