Wednesday, May 07, 2008

My Brother knocks years off me ...

My brother Simon (or Jake to his friends) - the photographer - recently showed me some photos that he'd played with to make the subjects look younger and/or blemish free. I can understand why such things happen - no one wants to see a warty bride I guess - even if I don't always approve. A little gilding of the lily is quite acceptable - portrait painters have done it for centuries. But when this kind of digital manipulation is used in marketing, it can be quite damaging; it's us that are being manipulated too. Perfection of the kind we see on the covers of glossy magazines isn't natural or real but it creates an ideal that people aim to achieve ... but never can. All this does is inflame people's negative body-image issues (and sell products with spurious claims and rarely proven efficacy). Intrepid reporter Dawn Porter covered this very subject recently in her Dawn gets naked documentary for BBC4 and subjected herself to the process. Here are two shots of her; one natural, and one after the digital airbrushers have been at work. She looks like a plastic mannequin. Is it me, or is the first, natural shot far better?

So I threw my brother a challenge. I gave him some rubbish material to work with, namely a particularly nasty picture of me that, I think, makes me look quite a lot older than I am (I was tired, okay?). Here's the before and after:

He's lowered my hairline, and changed my shirt colour to match the new scenery (Mousehole is gorgeous, especially at this time of year). He's also got rid of much of my grey hair. Not so sure about the decidedly ginger beard though. Admittedly, it was sort-of gingery blonde before it all went white but I don't need to be reminded of the fact, do I? I guess he should also have chopped my ears and nose around. They're a dead giveaway. You do know that they never stop growing, don't you? Just have a look at the size of old people's ears. Some are massive.

Not a bad effort though. I've probably shed 5-10 (at a stretch) years. And considering the altogether shoddy subject matter ...

As my mate Neil loves to say ... 'You can't polish shit!'

Visit my brother's site.

5 comments:

The Factory said...

Actually I prefer the original picture of Dawn, phenomenally foxy. Love the 'can't polish shit' line by the way, but I don't mean to suggest that it applies to you.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Me too - she's a fox.

And I did hear a variant on the 'polish shit' quote a while back. It went 'Doesn't matter how many diamonds you stick in it or whether you gold plate it... A turd is still a turd'. Ha!

Blog Princess G said...

I agree - she's a stunner before, doesn't need the smoothing out.

I prefer your first picture as well - it's the colour of your sweater. AND the nifty doodads on your shelves. I love looking at people's shelves. The only improvement I believe picture one needs is a pint of guinness at the elbow.

Stevyn Colgan said...

You're very kind. As for my nifty doodads, you may be bored to hear that they are (a) a diplodocus tail bone, (b) Amanda Visell's blue baby-eating crocodile, (c) my grandchildren's hand casts, (d) Kaz's Smoking Cat vinyl figure, (e) two London Natural History Museum dinosaur models and (f) Kronk's 'Eat Me' gingerbread Dunny!

I have more doodads than I care to talk about.

And a Guinness would be very nice, thank you.

Stevyn Colgan said...

You're very kind. As for my nifty doodads, you may be bored to hear that they are (a) a diplodocus tail bone, (b) Amanda Visell's blue baby-eating crocodile, (c) my grandchildren's hand casts, (d) Kaz's Smoking Cat vinyl figure, (e) two London Natural History Museum dinosaur models and (f) Kronk's 'Eat Me' gingerbread Dunny!

I have more doodads than I care to talk about.

And a Guinness would be very nice, thank you.