Selfie Harm.

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Selfie Harm.

Witness the scary results of Photoshopped portraits done by teens at the behest of professional photographer Rankin as part of his project called “Selfie Harm.”

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Unnaturally Perfect.

Unnaturally perfect social media photos are being made possible by a plethora of photo-editing apps.

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Warped Perceptions.

Our perceptions of reality can be warped by photo-editing software. Portraits of 15 teenagers were taken by the British fashion photographer John Rankin Waddell, known professionally as Rankin, after which he asked them to edit the pictures to make them more social media friendly. It’s nothing short of shocking to see unnaturally glowing skin, pouty lips, and giant cartoon-like eyes once the images have been hyper-retouched.

Dysmorphia.

“It’s time to acknowledge the damaging effects that social media has on people’s self-image,” Rankin wrote on Instagram, noting that the teens were mimicking what they see their idols do. “It’s just another reason why we are living in a world of FOMO, sadness, increased anxiety, and Snapchat dysmorphia.”

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The Ideal Public Image.

According to Business Insider, the photography series entitled “Selfie Harm” examines how images can affect mental health and is in collaboration with the art agency Visual Diet and M&C Saatchi. The obsession with crafting the ideal public image, created by unrealistic expectations about appearance, particularly via the influence of celebrities, show that social media presences are affected by images that have had to be retouched and how ubiquitous this method has become which is demonstrated by Rankin’s experiment.

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Apps Replace Photoshop.

Thanks to new photo-editing apps like Facetune the process of hyper-retouching is made so much easier and bypasses the advanced Photoshop know-how that was once required for such an exercise. “It’s so simple, almost like creating a cartoon character of yourself,” Rankin said, admitting that he has been rightfully criticized for his own use of Photoshop in the past.

Ethical Discussion Needed.

“These filters are something very new and, in my opinion, a lot more dangerous,” Rankin added. “What’s even scarier is there’s little or no debate happening around this. Something like Photoshop, which is a much more complex and inaccessible program, is actually part of a huge social ethical discussion.”

Before or after?

None of the teens Rankin worked with chose to leave their photos unedited. But while the final images, and the ease with which they were created, are undeniably disturbing, not all hope is lost. “Please note,” Rankin added. “The majority of subjects preferred their original image.”

Words by Elijah (Content Marketer).