When we look at celebrities on magazine covers they always look amazing. In fact, we begin to think we must have the worst genes ever! The Hollywood Stars always look beautiful, sexy, and perfect. Well, there is a little secret that you might want to know about. A digital enhancing tool called Photoshop can make subtle and not so subtle changes to those pictures. Here’s a picture of Kelly Clarkson:

Notice the color enhancement and around the buttocks and waist they have slimmed her down a bit.  Also look at her face – it is elongated and less round on the right. This one is subtle and not too dramatic but lets look at the next one.

Here we have Madonna looking her age.  Nothing wrong with that.  Again they color enhanced but notice she now has no wrinkles, no bags under the eyes, no imperfections for a woman 55 years old.  The picture on the right looks like a woman of 30.  It gives one pause to wonder if by changing and enhancing photos this much does a disservice to the performer.  It creates a myth that they will not be able to live up to in person.  It creates a warped sense of reality.

I think this Russian Magazine Cover shows the hidden power of photoshop.  The model looks great in the original picture.  However, she looks perfect on the magazine cover.  Let’s look more carefully at what they did.  It is subtle yet powerful.  They enhanced the lighting and color.  They slimmed down her waist and legs.  The fluffed her hair our more.   They softened her facial features and complexion.  Wow, that’s a lot of work.

Here is the very pretty Jennifer Aniston.   She is in her 40’s and she looks great.  The question to think about is did they really need to soften up the face in the photo.  Many people believe the character lines in your face show maturity and life.  If we keep making everyone look like they’re 25 does this create an accurate picture of the world?  Is Hollywood unable to let us grow old with natural beauty?  What message are we sending our kids and people in general?

Brittany Spears is one of the most photoshopped celebrities.  Her natural body shape is a little thick.  However, she is constantly altered, smoothed, slimmed, and changed to create an illusion that simply does not exist.  Ms. Spears likes twinkies, cake, and donuts like the rest of us.  That’s right: its alright to have that chocolate chip cookie once in a while.  No matter what you do or don’t do you simply aren’t going to meet these unrealistic and fake standards that Hollywood has created.

A competitive body builder once told me that he was only in amazingly photogenic shape for a couple of days.  This was done by intense dieting and restricted water intake.  “You could only do it for a few days for competitions or photo shoots.  After that we pigged out a little and looked a little more realistic.  Wow, that was so unhealthy.”, he confided to me.

They might not have had Photoshop in the 1930’s but they still used photoshop-like techniques.  This is a before and after picture of Joan Crawford for publicity use.  Notice that at the top of the retouched photo it says, “James Sharp spent six hours retouching it.”

I hope you enjoyed your Monthly Mind Trip!