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Photoshop Experiment: 1 Photograph, 27 Countries, 27 Definitions of ‘Beautiful’

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Philippines
Philippines

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and if journalist Esther Honig has proven anything with her fascinating Photoshop project Before & After, it’s that whoever ‘they’ are (it turns out, Margaret Wolfe Hungerford) is right.

The idea behind the project was simple: the 24-year-old radio journalist took to freelance website Fiverr to find Photoshop professionals from around the globe. 27 artists from 27 different countries have replied to her ad so far, and each of them got one photograph and the same instructions: make me look beautiful.

The results are, if you’ll allow us a paradox, both expected and surprising. Expected because most of the artists, regardless of culture, performed certain alterations to the size of her nose, the bags under her eyes, the color of her skin etc. Surprising because of the vast differences and shocking transformations some of the images portray.

Morocco
Morocco
USA
USA
Argentina
Argentina
Serbia
Serbia
Pakistan
Pakistan
UK
UK
Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Greece
Greece
Serbia
Serbia

Sometimes specific clothes and accessories were added, other times it was copious amounts of Photoshop makeup, and at times Honig could hardly recognize herself in the images. Cultural divides, it seems, make it impossible to even identify what might be considered universally ‘beautiful,’ much less aspire to it.

As Honig writes on her website, “Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more illusive.”

To see more of the set or read Honig’s thoughts on the project, head over to hear website by clicking here.

(via designboom)


Image credits: Photographs courtesy of Esther Honig

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