Editing photography can truly perfect a photo and certainly represents an enhancement of any photographers skill, but editing for less professional purposes has become popular as well. Selfies may not seem to be captivating pieces of art, but by definition they are indeed photography, and a new epidemic of the “perfect selfie” is the newest thing to be desired in our new social media hungry way of life.
It could be argued if one could edit a beautiful beach landscape, why not a selfie? This question is answered by Snapchat’s multitude of face filters, each which attempts to “perfect” your face. Certainly most are seen as fun and harmless, but a further look reveals that in addition to cat ears, these filters also airbrush your face, enlarge your eyes, clear your skin of blemishes, and slim your nose.
According to Statista, Snapchat’s demographic isn’t all that surprising: During the survey period it was found that 23 percent of Snapchat users in the United States were aged between 13 and 17 years. Obviously social media is a large part of life for teenagers, but should these perfecting filters be a part of everyday life as well?
Many could argue the company of Snapchat is a business and at the end of the day, they put out the content and tools that their audience may like, but at this ripe age of insecurity and growing maturity, what if a user didn’t feel beautiful to the standards Snapchat’s filters or society, and only feels comfortable with the fun dog ears and slimmed nose and clear skin? While we live in a society where advanced photo editing techniques are available, it’s a sad epidemic when these things become commonplace to retouch photos that are intended to be fun and silly. Also, while photo editing has become the norm – phrases like, ‘she’s so photoshopped’ exist in our everyday vocabulary – Snapchat doesn’t allow you to free edit, instead they impose specific standards of beauty within their enhancing filters.
While Snapchat can be a fun and entertaining way to spend your time and take photos, it’s important to understand the full effect that filters can have on our self-confidence, and also on the future of a generation of students who grew up thinking they are ‘normal.’