Esther Honig : In the U.S. Photoshop has become a symbol of our society’s unobtainable standards for beauty. My project, Before & After, examines how these standards vary across cultures on a global level. Freelancing platforms, like Fiverr, have allowed me to contract nearly 40 individuals, from more than 25 countries such as Sri Lanka, Ukraine, The Philippines, and Kenya. Some are experts in their field, others are purely amateur.
With a cost ranging from five to thirty dollars, and the hope that each designer will pull from their personal and cultural constructs of beauty to enhance my unaltered image, all I request is that they ‘make me beautiful’.
Below is a selection from the resulting images thus far. 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.