This video advertisement appears on a web page that describes the Facetune app as “App Of The Week: Facetune Brings Photoshop To The Masses”. The app allows you to easily and quickly “fix up” any photograph you have taken. I suspect that it will become very popular, especially amongst girls/young women and also boys/young men. And that is what concerns me.
There is this amazing scene in the movie “Good Will Hunting”, where the psychiatrist, played by Godel Hador Robin Williams, tells Will Hunting the “secret” to relationships. Seeking perfection in a mate is a fool’s quest. A partner or spouse need not be perfect based on some (meaningless) universal scale. A person’s best match only needs to be perfect for that person. An outsider may look at a couple and fail to see the connection between the two partners. But it may very well be that there is some element missing in one partner that the other can compensate for, and vice versa.
The Facetune app that is shown in this post allows an individual to quickly and easily Photoshop their own pictures. The video advertisement has playful music in the background, as the clearly young and excited female speaker describes how this technology lets a person clear away all of their “imperfections”.
You may have thought that the point of a photograph is to capture a moment. But this app intends to modify these moments to create the illusion of a perfect personal history. When, many years from now, the young lady depicted in the video looks back at these photos, she will see a sterilized version of her own past. If there is a “perfect” picture of her but her smile is not sufficiently wide, a little tech magic will make it look as if she is as happy as she wants to remember that she was.
And of course, these pictures will be posted as quickly as they can be generated. Especially for those people who are geographically distant from this young lady, they will be told a visual story that has little to do with reality. But it seems that reality is just too … real to be shared. Instead, our photos and our videos and eventually even our live video conferencing will be pre-processed to show only a perfect version of ourselves.
I could easily see a situation where friends of many years refuse to meet in person lest each see the other with all of their real and very human imperfections.
There are many articles today that bemoan the endless pursuit of perfection, most clearly demonstrated in the Photoshopping of supermodel photographs. Women who are defined as the ultimate in physical beauty, independent of what the public might think, are still too “ugly” to be shown on the cover of a magazine without major digital adjustments.
The kind of software depicted in the video will only help women/men achieve the same masking effect as these supermodels. I really don’t mean to sound like the old codger who waves his cane at any new technology. but this type of app is forewarning us of a further deterioration in a healthy perception of ourselves, our friends and family and our surroundings.
I leave you with a thought experiment. I am beyond fortunate to be married to a woman who is brilliant, kind, a professional’s professional, a wonderful mother, an amazing wife and incredibly beautiful. My fortune is in the fact that she thinks I am worth her time. But I have always wondered how well my virtual twin would fare were he to post his truthful un-brushed profile on a dating site that reads as follows: “obese, diabetic, bald, bespeckled, Jewish nosed chronic pain sufferer, presently only working part time, seeks Cinderella”. TMI? I thought so.