Say Cheesy: A New Camera Claims It Can Erase Flaws

Panasonic's new point-and-shoot lets you Photoshop yourself. Is that truly necessary?

We’ve all experienced the Facebook Tag of Shame. That’s when a friend uploads all her crazy good time shots from Saturday night, and you wake up Sunday morning to see yourself bleary-eyed, double-chinned, and making poor karaoke-related choices.

It’s not pretty.
But is Panasonic’s new Lumix DMC-FX78(FX77) camera the answer? Armed with a Beauty Retouch Mode, it lets you whiten teeth, clear skin, “lift up” saggy jaws and paint on foundation, lip color, blush and eye shadow. Congratulations! You’re now ready to publish your own overly airbrushed women’s magazine.
I’ll admit: There are plenty of pictures on Facebook that I wouldn’t mind letting the Photoshop Fairy have at. (Enough with the shiny foreheads and half-blinking eyes already!) But faux face-lifts and foundation? I asked this question last week when we talked about permanent makeup and I ask it again: Have. We. Lost. The. Plot?
Here’s the thing: You do not need to look great in every picture.
I know. It sounds radical, but stick with me. Some pictures aren’t about you being pretty. They’re about capturing a moment in time. Like how amazing it was to watch the sunrise at Machu Picchu five years ago. And how happy my now-husband and I were when we celebrated our engagement three years ago at a Chinatown karaoke bar (and learned that no, we aren’t very good at Queen covers). When I scroll through my Facebook photos and remember all the friends' weddings, New Year’s Eve parties, and vacations, I am not the least bit interested in what my chin is doing, or whether my eye shadow matches my cheek color in every shot.
Even when I look at my own wedding photos -- and of course, I want to look great in those -- my favorite shots aren’t the perfect makeup ones that we took at the beginning of the day. They’re the ones that happened later, after my hair went up in a messy ponytail, and my forehead turned beet red from hours of dancing. I can’t imagine Photoshopping out one bit of the joy I felt that night.
The media Photoshops every wrinkle and extra pound out of the images we see because they’re trying to make you believe in a fantasy definition of beauty. The problem is, the line between that fantasy and our reality has gotten so blurred that women everywhere carry around sadly distorted views of their own real life beauty.
Even when we try to break up with Photoshopping -- as the cosmetics brand Make Up For Ever is doing with its new “HD — No Retouching” campaign — we end up buying into the same fantasy. The only reason the models in Make Up For Ever’s ads still look perfect? Because they’ve been pre-Photoshopped, with every pore carefully coated in the brand’s High Definition Foundation.
So if you’re a fashion photographer-in-training, okay then. Go to town with that Beauty Retouch mode because you’ve got an unhelpful fantasy to perpetuate. But if you’re a regular person, using your camera to document your actual life? Hands off. Believe it or not, that real, squinty-eyed, goofy-smiling you is beautiful.


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