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Post Processing-A Bliss or Curse?

-Indranil Mukherjee

We all want to look good, and that's not a crime. It is this desire that has promoted Photo Editing or Post Processing of photographs as a separate genre of business in the fraternity. And that also emerged a fresh category of composite images. For a creative presentation, it is indeed quite powerful. But when it comes to a human portrait, that’s the point where this debate starts.

Before we start, let's not focus on the following topics:

  • The software in use. That can be anything.

  • The skillset of the editor. Let us presume, the best in town.

  • The makeup artist.

  • The lighting setup.

  • The camera gadgets used

  • The location of the shoot

The sole thing of our discussion is a Human Facial Portrait, which is getting edited. Portrait editing is a known practice, and every fashion photography adopts it. Even after make-up is done, there at times are few elements of disturbance like a small pimple on the face, which may pull down the essence of the photo in comparison to the expected glamour capability of that image. This is often termed as touch up, just like what a make-up artist does.

  • Removal of spots/pimples

  • Flatten the eye bags

  • Enriching the skin tone/texture

  • Iris adjustments

  • Facial hair removal

Few good photo editors actually do the task with utmost efficiency that even tends to push your present-day portrait look a few years younger from actual. But the point is, many of the photo editors suffer from a brake failure in this journey, and goes much beyond to this. The editing tends to change things like

  • Jawline

  • Reducing facial/body plump

  • Eyeline

  • Teeth orientations

  • Nosejob

  • Adding dimple

In short, an absolute cosmetic surgery on a digital platform, this changes entire identity. Such images when seen for the first time, near and dear ones even pause for a few moments to relate to the actual person they know. Something of this sort...

Are these two images of the same person? With great difficulty and regret, the answer is yes. We pray that such right side images are not used for any online dating app or matrimony site. So, this approach of photo editing gave shape to the act of Morph. We see a lot of funny memes where two celebrity facials are merged to form one; it’s fun to see them. But I am sure, anyone realizing the above image in real will not feel that fun.

Lately, we have been reading and listening to a lot about body shaming. It’s the act of expressing humiliation about another individual's body shape or size. Then, if you start morphing your portrait, indirectly, are you doing a Body-Shaming to yourself?