Retouching Video Shows the Power of ‘Unreality’

Before After Photoshop

We all know that when we look at models in magazines or online they have been touched up, and even the actors and actresses at award shows have gone through hours of preparation specific to making them look great on camera under those specific lighting conditions. Seeing a stage actor walk off the set is a quick reminder of the un-reality of that situation.

Seeing photoshopped images next to the originals is a very powerful lesson – but we still tend to allow ourselves to believe that the ‘after’ image is real and should be our goal.

Late last year track & field athlete Lauren Fleshman walked the runway for Oiselle as part of NY Fashion Week a mere 3 months after giving birth, prompting some discussion about how ripped and toned and tanned she looked so soon after having a baby. But as she revealed in her blog … she IS thin and fit, but most of it had to do with intense prep as well as some oil and spray tan!

when my pics from the NY Fashion Week Oiselle Runway show were posted, a lot of people commented that it was pretty crazy to have my body change that much in three months. And yeah, it was a little crazy but in real life, people don’t walk around spray tanned and flexed. Out of the thousands of photos taken at the runway show after all that tanning and primping and posture-holding, one or two of them looked good. A lot of them looked pretty gnarly. Weird facial expressions, lumpy bits, zombie walks…but nobody would ever know…

I definitely recommend checking the entire post out, because it shows the REAL reality as opposed to just that one iconic image of her on the runway.

Again, we know we can’t compete with airbrush, spray tan, and photoshop, but how many of us look at pictures like that and think … well I will never look like THAT (well, aside from the whole obvious gender thing … you get my point!)

This week a new video has been making the rounds I wanted to share – it is a music video in French with the singer slowly being photoshopped over the course of a song. By the end the singer is barely recognizable as the same person from the beginning – an they do a brief flashover of the original image to drive that point home.

How do YOU deal with maintaining perspective in an increasingly unreal world?

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13 thoughts on “Retouching Video Shows the Power of ‘Unreality’

  1. It’s tough! Perspective is important, and I try to separate myself from media as much as possible anymore. I don’t read so many celeb mags, I don’t watch “Fashion Police” or any unreal reality shows…to be honest though, it’s also important to remember that a lot of blogging is unreal anymore. So many bloggers only InstaGram their healthy meals, blog about their good runs, talk about their perfect days. I just have to keep my perspective on what works for me and stop the comparisons that are so easy to make. Comparing does nobody any good and it’s always apples to oranges.

    • It is funny you mention that ‘unreality’, because I already did a post on how I felt weird talking about running all the time when, as I said, ‘mostly the miles are boring’ – and I have another draft talking about more of the same stuff planned for this week. This week was interesting because it was sub zero so much, but if it was 30F? Who cares.

      It is so easy to fall into the trap that what people choose to show is EVERYTHING. It is not – we all have ups, downs, and days where we are whiny, petulant, or whatever.

  2. One of the things about getting older is realizing that short of plastic surgery, my body (and face) just are never going to be perfect any more. Even when I had a BMI of 16 when I was in the throes of Graves Disease, middle-age skin tone meant that my thighs still jiggled when I walked. I only have so much energy to deal with all the various facets of my life and I refuse to spend much of it worrying about something I cannot control. But while I don’t compare myself to celebrities, I do struggle sometimes with comparing my current self to pictures of myself 5 years ago (when I had a thyroid), I realize I won’t get there again, but still have twinges of shame for being 20 pounds heavier. I do feel great about starting running in the past year, though, something that never would have happened if I continued on at that same weight. I am much fitter and healthier now.

    • Ah the good old days of functioning thyroids! 🙂 I actually wonder if I had low-level hypothyroid for a while because I have so much more energy now than I did for years.

      But the whole thing about self-comparing is so true – it can swing both ways. On the one hand I know I look (and feel) better than ever, but I also have no idea what ‘skinny’ looks like on my body, which is weird.

      And what you said last “I am much fitter and healthier now” is just SO important! That is what makes me happy as well.

  3. I understand marketing, but I truly wish for men and women that perfection, attainable or not wasn’t the ideal that was promoted. I think it helps everyone to see it isn’t real – but then we (parents, teachers, friends) are responsible for spreading that message and then talking about what IS important!

    • It is really hard – kids are bombarded with images and messages all the time, we have become such a fast-moving visual society that it is hard to separate looks and reality.

  4. I love this post! I think it is so important that we understand what the media does to both men and women.There are some very telling videos out there like the ones you have shown. It is really hard I think on children (teenagers) because they think that what they see in the magazines and on TV is true. I have a really big place in my heart for young females especially because I’ve been there and I know how it feels. It is a great topic to bring awareness to!

    • Thanks Sara! It is really hard to see healthy people let some external force take over their self-image and warp their reality. And it can be tragic, so the more we can push the image of a happy, healthy person … the better for everyone!

  5. So interesting what run2cope said “But while I don’t compare myself to celebrities, I do struggle sometimes with comparing my current self to pictures of myself 5 years ago.” I find myself doing the same thing. There was something about turning 40 where a lot started to change on my face. It hasn’t always been the easiest thing to deal with, especially because I’m 43 and single and the guys my age all seem to be dating women way younger. How do I even compare. It’s something I know I need to learn to accept but it’s hard.

    • It is interesting thinking about what you said about guys dating younger women … and on the one hand I think that the reality is none of us think of ourselves the age we actually are, but most are at least somewhat close. In other words, in my late 40s I definitely see women I work with in tehir 20s as VERY young and in their 30s as ‘younger’, but early-mid 40s would be ‘about the same age’. Of course, personally I see early 50s as ‘about the same age’, but that is me.

      I know many people who have an unrealistic view of their own age … and it can get creepy when you see them in action.

      I also think that (unfairly) men are given much more slack about their age than women. I have plenty of gray hair, and never would think about coloring, whereas Lisa … well, it has been a while since she was uncolored 🙂 Again, that isn’t something that bothers me, but a lot of these things are about how we feel inside of ourselves.

      I would be happier if people (myself included) colored their hair because they wanted to rather than to meet societal pressure, worked out for health and fitness instead of feeling inadequate and ate well because it is a good idea rather than to get 6-pack abs.

      Thanks for the comment … definitely thought provoking!

  6. Pingback: Life is Not Full of Rainbows and Unicorns | Running Around the Bend

  7. OK, catching up because I skipped this one a few days ago … how in the WORLD do you have time to post so much content? You are so impressive! I never want to skip any so you often get these throwback comments from me. Just stopping in to say that I LOVED that post by Lauren Fleshman, who has always been one of my favorites, and I love that a guy is casting light on issues like this. I also love the comments on this post. Incredibly thought provoking, thanks!

    • Well … my goals to read a book a month isn’t proceeding well, and my guitar work is also lagging … 🙂

      Thanks for the compliment about me noting these issues, it is just something I have always found unacceptable. And agree there are some excellent comments!

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