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The Photoshop World

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In the world of advertising, magazine editorial and social media nowadays, everyone is flawless.

Photo alteration is no longer a skill set solely possessed by professional retouchers.

With 2 million downloads in Jan 2018 and $1 million estimated monthly revenue, Facetune 2 is definitely at the pinnacle of the vanity business. It gives smartphone users the ability to alter their appearance with surprising flexibility and specificity. Whiter teeth, smooth ‘poreless’ skin and a slimmer face can be easily achieved with only a few taps. China’s number one photo retouching app MeituPic also accumulate over 270 million monthly users, with Line Camera and Snow being developed in Japan and South Korea, respectively.

Yet what is also occurring as an aftermath of these vanity apps: the insecurity amongst teenage girls and young women alike.


There are two common image alterations based on the observations through my last decade in advertising and PR. The first is colour treatment or colour filter. Think Annie Leibovitz’s photo work and her iconic cyan or muted yellow image colour treatment; or Jo Malone and their distinctive warm tone to amplify the mood of understated luxury. Image mood setting has been a big part of brand identity, including mine. I am always alternating between a brown or purple filter.

Then, the second kind: the digital nip/tuck.


The popularity of vanity apps has further amplified an unattainable standard of beauty in the media. With traditional advertising media, readers have already aware of the images we see are doctored – Photoshopped. The likes of Instagram has blurred the line between fantasy and reality, as people present the best versions of themselves. This has indirectly created a very toxic cyber space for the younger generations.

“The more time teenage girls spent on social media, the more they suffered conditions of bulimia, anorexia, physical dissatisfaction, negative physical self-image, negative approach to eating and increased urge to be on a weight-loss diet.”

University of Haifa


Whilst conventional beauty ideals needs to be updated, digital influencers like myself play an important role to convey positive body image, especially to those that look up to us. After all, flaws only add uniqueness and personality to our photos.

Well, that’s what I believe in.

AKI xoxo

Wearing: Gestuz velvet 2-piece set, Gucci glasses, accessories, socks and shoes.

These images are art directed, styled and photographed by yours truly. All images are colour treated but never retouched.

5 thoughts on “The Photoshop World”

  1. Such a thoughtful article with great references. I cannot say I haven’t experienced negativity from perfect images on instagram, but self love and body positivity has made it acceptable.
    Definitely against facetune 2 perfect filters because perfection is an illusion and should not be promoted

  2. I honestly cannot imagine growing up now and being exposed to the sort of stuff kids or rather, impressionable teens would access. I was always pretty naive and not aware of my own physicality unless it had been pointed out to me. Back in the day, beside my teeth gap, I rarely thought much about my body. It wasn’t until I was in year 8 when changing for gym class that some girl pointed out I was super thin. I’d trained from a young age to be a figure skater and I was just naturally skinny. My Auntie had nicknamed me ‘weeds’ but I didn’t think much of it. Not until that day someone I barely knew pointed it out. Back then I didn’t have the internet to research, feel inadequate or compare myself to others. I guess these days it’s so easy to compare your lives to someone else’s highlight reel on Instagram. It is unbelievable to me that young girls would grow up wanting to get surgery or alter their looks through photo editing software. I mean, we didn’t even have hair straighteners growing up, we legit looked average and that was normal! haha
    I have more and more lines on my face these days. I’d love to say I love them, but I accept them. My body is something that once I hit 30 changed from never being able to put on weight to gaining a little without my knowing. But thanks to that I keep in shape now, which I never used to bother about. Digitally altering yourself is a slippery slope and not one that is really worth it. In person, I look the same, only often get “You are much shorter than I imagined”. I’d rather hear that than “You look different in real life”.
    xx Jenelle

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