Journalist's Photoshop Project Illustrates Different Standards Of Beauty Around The World

| by Jonathan Wolfe

We all know Photoshop can be – and is – used to radically alter people’s appearances. A few months back, a video went viral showing how a Photoshop expert can drastically alter a person's appearance with just a few clicks.

Photoshop is often used to make people’s appearances align closer with a society’s “ideal” image of beauty. But, as this experiment by Kansas City-based journalist Esther Honig proves, this “ideal” appearance varies drastically around the world.

In a project titled “Before and After,” Honig sent a makeup-free picture of herself to 40 photo retouchers around the world. Her instructions were simple: “Make me look beautiful.”

Every retoucher sent Honig back an image drastically different both from her original picture and from the work of other Photoshop artists.

About the returned images, Honig says: “They are intriguing and insightful in their own right; each one is a reflection of both the personal and cultural concepts of beauty that pertain to their creator. 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 elusive.”

Here's the original photo, along with a number of retouched images from the project:



Sri Lanka:




United States: