I reject your reality and substitute my own! ~Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame
|Shadows Dance - 031313 - Miz B|
Way back when I first encountered the modeling industry, any given shoot was likely to be cancelled if the model got a zit, spent a long night up with a sick kid, ate that week, or forgot to paint her nails. Retouching was expensive and complicated and time-consuming. Are there women (& men) who can show up on set and live up to the idealized vision to which we've become accustomed? Sure - but they are the exception to the rule. Most of us are people, with day jobs, lives, and flaws. We have good days and bad days and a whole lot in between. Amen for the miracle of modern technology that allows us to put our best foot (and face) forward anyway!
I agree with some of your comments on our last post - in this day and age, it's assumed that there is some level of alteration. As a culture, we auto-tune our musicians, photoshop our models, reduce our news to biased soundbites, dye our hair, surgically alter our bodies, fudge our resumes, spin our profiles, and create alter ego personas for public consumption. Of course I photoshop ... to me, the key issue is how much.
Side B already mentioned the extreme case of simulating child porn via alteration of legal models to appear pre-pubescent. Real, virtual, simulated, vaguely referenced - child porn is evil, period. The sickos who fuel their fantasies and subsequent crimes with these images are encouraged just as much by a modified image as a real one. I'm not even a fan of completely shaven obviously mature women ... no jungles please, but I don't see anything particularly sexy about trying to look like a 6 year old from the waist down.
As a model, I prefer to ride the line between magazine standard perfection and reality. I do a lot of live events and appearances ... it doesn't serve me to photoshop my images beyond recognition, because I have to show my actual face/body in public. So far, the reaction I get most frequently when someone first meets me is "I thought you'd be taller!" -- this is cool by me and vastly preferable to "I thought you'd be younger/ hotter/ thinner/ prettier!" I want my photos to look like me - albeit the BEST version of me! My clients and models feel the same way ... they want to capture the real them - but in the best possible way. Compositing images can help. Maybe in one shot, the angle is flattering to my figure, but my expression sucks. In another, I have a radiant smile, but I posed 10 degrees off and look broad as a barn. When I put them together, it's still me - and still real - even tho it was real 2 minutes apart :-)
I loved the Photoshop parody that Side B included last time ... I have literally found myself getting ready for an event and wishing I could use all those virtual tools to touch up the living breathing me! I've become so accustomed to altering reality that I am slightly unsettled by raw images ... I see everything through eyes that are critical of flaws - in people and lighting and framing, etc. Releasing the bubblebath image in the last post made me feel more vulnerable and naked and exposed than most of my erotic/nude work. It's more personal ... crossing over into a private, unedited moment versus playing a role at work that is carefully crafted into a piece of art. Clearly, the editing, costuming, attitude, etc. serve me like a superhero's cape and mask ... anyone with half a brain can tell it's me, but the psychological shift into a character allows me the freedom to separate my "self" from my "image."
One final thought ... I believe one point of art is to escape reality. The ancient Greek masters of sculpture didn't shoot for realism - they preferred to express idealized versions of their subjects. Impressionists based their style on the concept of expressing the idea or feeling of something instead of the literal thing itself. I adore working in silhouette - it eliminates a lot of distracting details and lets your imagination fill in the shadows with your preferred reality.
I tend to believe that debating and over-thinking art is pointless and defeats the purpose. Does my image move you? Does it make you FEEL? Do you enjoy its viewing? If you can answer yes to any of these, then we have created a reality, you and I. Whatever it may have been before, once we share this image, this moment ... reality changes for us both. Reality is created. Reality is dynamic. Reality is whatever we say it is!