Are edited pictures wrong?

I love photography, in case you haven't noticed. I love spending an afternoon hunched over a pile of books in my room or wandering around the town with only the clicks of my camera to keep me company. 

For years, I've been against edited photos. I like seeing the world as it is and not how someone thinks it should be, especially with pictures of people. (The photoshopping in fashion and beauty industry drives me insane.) The world and people in it is already beautiful beyond words, why would we edit everything we put online? It only creates unrealistic beauty ideals and sets us up for failure via comparison. The grass is always greener on the other side, right? 

In saying that, I edit 90% of the photos I put on my blog. For me, editing photos is just as much fun as taking them and sharing them online. There is nothing more relaxing than sitting in the air-con, earbuds in, a cup of hot tea beside me, and editing my most recent batch of pictures. 

I find my pictures always turn out with less depth and contrast as the real thing. I almost always add some contrast and play around with the lighting, or add some filters when I'm feeling a bit fancier. 

While consuming media, I hate edited content. While creating media, I upload edited media. It seems hypocritical of me to upload crisper, more defined, and brighter images than the ones I take. The last thing I want is to contribute to the comparison game we all play. (The place they live is more beautiful than the place I live. Their skin is smoother than mine. That person's experiences are cooler than mine, etc. etc.). I'm not going to stop editing my pictures, but I don't know how to sit with my opinions on consuming edited pictures while still enjoying the art. 

Art is amazing, but sometimes it can be harmful when used the wrong way, and I don't want to use it the wrong way.


  1. I love the point of this post! I edit my photos on the lighting, but photoshoping stuff feels wrong unless it's as a joke. :)

    1. Thank you! I agree, it doesn't feel right to put heavily edited photos online. I really enjoy the editing process though, so it is something I struggle with.

  2. I edit pictures for my blog posts so I don't believe ALL editing is bad but sometimes photoshop is just there to give people anxiety about unrealistic expectations. I even saw an article about how this person photoshopped a PIZZA to look like a beautiful female model.

    1. Exactly, sometimes it's a good thing and can really add to the atmosphere or aesthetic. However, it can often be taken too far which is when I think we need to be careful. I've seen that video actually, it's insane.

  3. I don't think there's anything wrong with edited photos. To me, that's like saying there's something wrong with an edited book . . . Um, yeah. Please edit that book, man! I'm not saying that real life and the original isn't amazing. It is! But a photo (even a book, a song, any kind of art) is not real life nor is it the original; it's an image or reflection of real life. And it's always going to show the creator's view of that image whether the creator (in this case photographer) is purposely trying to show the onlooker a specific perspective or angle or not. I used to be over conscious about my book photos being edited on my instagram account, and now I realize that's just a way to show people how I am seeing things. It's an art in a way.

    I do get what you're saying about the fashion industry and the way they edit photos and have a narrow-minded view of what people should look like. It is really upsetting. And honestly, I think they're stupid for limiting themselves so much. People are beautiful in all shapes and sizes. I've been noticing that a lot in the past year. The people who I've met who I think are outwardly beautiful don't have a "perfect" body type (dude, the perfect body type doesn't exist!). They don't all have straight teeth. They aren't all skinny as a celery stick. They don't all wear the latest fashion or drink matcha or float around in floral printed dresses enjoying perfected latte art like they're some maniac pixie dream girl. The fashion industry and other similar to it are really cheating themselves when they don't emphasize the individuality of beauty. I'm going to be really hardcore honest though. I don't think the problem is just the industry. I think its partly us, the onlookers. We shouldn't let ourselves be naive enough to let one group of people's perspective distort our own perspective and knowledge of reality. Like I said before, it's an art that reflects the artist's perspective. It is not reality, we should learn to think independently and recognize these facts. While it's fine to look at other people's perspectives, we need to learn what our own perspectives are too. I'm not saying this is easy or going to be easy for everyone. But I think that those of us who do recognize it should encourage those who do not yet.

    I love this post (as late as I am on commenting to it)! It raises some interesting thoughts and questions.

    1. I think there's a big difference between a book and an image, as much as I see where you're coming from. I think in a lot of ways photography is perceived as presenting the truth whereas for hundreds of years books and songs etc have been used to tell fictional stories whereas photographs are incredibly new (in the timespan of human history) and I don't think we've really begun to understand that photos can tell fictional stories as well. I think it's a cultural thing, but also many people don't understand that a lot of pictures aren't taken in the moment, but are carefully arranged to give a story. You know a person sat their butt down in their chair and wrote a book, but many images (ie in the fashion industry) are portrayed as being truthful. And while I truly do believe photography is art, I don't think enough people understand that not all art forms are whole truths.

      If that makes any sense?

      Basically what you said, "Like I said before, it's an art that reflects the artist's perspective. It is not reality, we should learn to think independently and recognize these facts." THIS. There are so many different kinds of beauty out there, and not all images are truth but it's sometimes hard to tell the difference. And it is hard to encourage others to look at what is sometimes going on when you yourself are sometimes being swayed by these "false images".

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, I absolutely loved reading it :D


Post a Comment

Feel free to leave your thoughts and opinions! I'd love to hear from you. Please note that I reserve the right to delete comments that I think are hurtful.

Popular Posts