We received my son’s sophomore high school class picture in the mail the other day and I honestly did not recognize him. It took me a minute of studying the photo to:
- Figure out it was my son
- Why he looked so different
<Que heavenly music and a light bulb over my head> My son got airbrushed.
I didn’t ask for it
I can’t believe we actually checked any box on the order form to request that my son’s class picture be airbrushed. They must have determined that his acne was bad enough to warrant the plasticizing of his face. While he looks pretty, it isn’t our son. Our son has acne and is not perfect and that is the way I want remember him when I get older.
Less than perfect kid
Airbrushing out facial blemishes on student pictures should not be an option. Facial photo cleansing is tantamount to saying, “I want that perfect child I see in the magazines and on TV.” The ability to remove the age related blemishes on our children’s faces is just another step in developing the “perfect family” image that so many parents want. It’s just not reality. It is plastic, fake and a product of living in a society where beautiful people (with most having been nipped, tucked and whitened) are worshipped in the media.
Looks like a model
Pictures capture our children as they grow and pass through different phases of their life.
Photographs are meant to jog the memory of how life was; the good times and the bad. When we create artificial pictures through airbrushing, we create artificial lives. If you want to live in a fantasy world at a theme park, by all means, get your child’s class portrait airbrushed.
The downside to practice
My son’s acne is a direct result of his dedication to cross country practice. Even though he constantly washes his face and uses astringent, the daily sweat and dirt is overwhelming. We also know that he will grow out of this phase. A picture airbrushed of acne is a picture that is diminishing his achievements of making the varsity team as a sophomore and setting a new PR with each race.
You look mahvalous!
Airbrushing has its place. I received loads of compliments on my NOH8 photo. The NOH8 photographers are not going to put out a photo that you don’t want to post on Facebook. Consequently, all the finished photos are softened and the contrast reduced. This easily took 10 years off my face and I look “Mah-valous Dahling”. It works for me and it works for NOH8.
Honesty in photography
Glamour shots and marketing photos can all lend themselves to being airbrushed without any complaint from me. I probably should have had my last head shot smoothed out, but I feared showing up and the client recoiling in horror, “You don’t look anything like your photo.” I figure an honest picture is a reflection of my honest soul. Wrinkles, sun spots, graying hair and less than white teeth are a portrait of me.
We’re real people
For the time being, my son’s mannequin like class photo is framed and on display in the family room. I am thinking of having him sign it, “To Dad, Love Walker”, because he looks like he could be a vapid TV child actor. But I know my real son. He is not perfect, just like me, and we don’t need perfect photos to create an alternate universe of perfection.
The Walker I know