Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Half Face of Makeup — Merging Before & After Images

My friend Sophie showed me this crazy photo of an Asian woman who only applied makeup to half of her face. It's crazy how the right side looks deformed (even though that's her 'normal' side). It's crazy how we instantly gravitate towards the 'prettier' left side. This picture alone could start a huge conversation about the politics of women's beauty standards in our society & media. How does wearing makeup change the assumptions we make about people. I'll be really honest and say that the stereotypes I see are: LEFT: pretty girl with lots of friends, Westernized and into modern pop culture & RIGHT: nice woman who studies math or works in a flower market in China. Crazy racist stereotypes, I know. But those are the judgements that jump into my mind (I don't know why). I'm not so shallow to think that my instant stereotype judgement would be anywhere near the reality (people always surprise me and that's so good) but if I have to make an instant judgement that's what jumped into my mind. Anyway, it's insane because the only difference is some face paint. What stereotypes jump into your mind when you see each half of her face?

Sophie challenged me on this topic and asked me how it relates to my photography. I give women makeovers and present them in a certain way that lines up with certain definitions of beauty. How is my photography affecting women? Is it part of the media that's harmful to self-esteem? Or is it empowering, showing women that they are indeed beautiful, just like the women in the magazines who are beautiful when they get their makeovers too? Celebrities don't look so gorgeous coming out of the super market. That's why we love seeing those paparazzi pictures, right?

So I thought I would do a little experiment and create 'half made up' faces from my photographs. I took two beautiful women — their before photo is pretty and their after photo is pretty. I took half of the before photo and half of the final image and merged them together into one face to create the same effect as the original photo. What do you think?

What do you think about these images & this issue?