Images all over the internet and social media are constantly being retouched and edited, unfortunately becoming the norm in society. On apps such as Instagram and Snapchat, there are many built-in filters to be able to change your appearance, making this seem normal for users, as well as taking your images and selfies into Photoshop or FaceTune to enlarge lips, eyes and smooth your skin.
The impact of social media has become clear in recent years, many young adults starting off on social media are facing battles with body dysmorphia and mental health issues. A study called "the online brain": how the Internet may be changing our cognition, was conducted in 2019 showing how our brains are changing due to time on social media, with images of hyper-successful people, making it hard for young people to truly understand how to live their lives when they are not 'perfect'.
Social media creates unrealistic beauty standards for people and makes people compare themselves to others online. This can cause people to feel like they don't fit in or measure up, causing disorders such as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)
Many brands and celebrities have stopped this, to demonstrate that all of our bodies are beautiful. Brands including Boohoo have started to post images on their websites unedited. An example of this is of a model posing and showing her stretch marks, whilst wearing a bikini.
By taking a stand, companies support this change in thinking and that people don't need to cover up certain aspects of ourselves because they feel they are not 'flawless' or 'perfect'. There are now numerous other images on the Boohoo website with stretch marks present and not being edited out.
Another brand that is putting a stop to editing their images and not showing an unrealistic beauty standard is Dove. They have released their 'No Digital Distortion' mark.
This is a mark to always show women how they are in real life, never using manipulated images or unachievable images. Jess Wiener, cultural expert for the Dove Self-Esteem projects says '"Viewing unrealistic and unachievable beauty images creates an unattainable goal which leads to feelings of failure. This is especially true of young girls who have grown up in a world of filters and airbrushing".
Dove's global beauty and confidence reports from 2016 interviewed 10,500 females across 13 countries, finding that women's confidence in their bodies is at a steady decline, women (69%) and girls (65%) feel increasing pressure from advertising and media to reach an unrealistic beauty standard.
A photographer who has put a stop to editing photographs and showing real skin is Sophie Harris-Taylor.
Sophie is a documentary photographer based in London, she documents the lives of her own and others, showing truth and confidence in these images. Her series Epidermis was in a solo exhibition in September 2019, at Francesca Maffeo Gallery in London.
In her series called Epidermis, she shows women with skin less often seen, the images show portraits of women with no makeup on and not ashamed of their skin. This series features 20 women from the UK with different skin conditions. She uses soft lighting conditions; the models are completely makeup-free, showing their real beauty.
Many photographers feel they need to edit and change their images to be able to succeed in this industry, however, showing the beauty in real life and how raw moments can be, is what photography is all about. Photographers such as Sophie Harris-Taylor are helping to stop the high use of editing and manipulating images to show everyone that we are perfect no matter what and we do not need to change.