Behind the Scenes

August 12, 2021

We lie to ourselves

When you ask someone what is most important to them in a person, the answer usually is honesty and humor. I understand the part with the humor, but honesty is such a thing. Because once we are really honest, we see that we are constantly lying to one another. We even lie to ourselves.

I came up with this subject while I was editing images. Retouching is quite a meditative process. You sit in front of your screen in a dark room (so that the colors are not falsified by window light) and use your drawing tablet to remove pimples, to smooth out skin and sometimes even to go a step further by liquifying body shapes.

In such monotonous processes, the brain is in the so-called parasympathetic state and one can think well. Thoughts take their course. And I thought of cosmetic surgery and what is being done these days. Injections with hyaluronic acid, a little filler in the upper lip, rhinoplasty and the classic silicone breasts. Why do people do it? To please others. To conform to an ideal. And of course for their own self-esteem.

White peafowl

Natural beauty

We actually always hope to see natural beauty, though. We ask questions like "Are the breasts real?" when we see round and firm boobs and the question implies that we would be disappointed if the answer was "No, it's silicone". Therefore, you better don't speak about surgery too much. If people believe, your skin looks so smooth because you only drink water, you will get more appreciation.

But the question arises, what actually is cosmetic surgery? I got braces as a child. And my lip frenulum was removed so that my front teeth wouldn't go back to buck teeth after the braces were taken off. This is actually also a cosmetic operation, isn't it? And I would always support this, because from my personal point of view teeth are something very important on a person's face.


If you don't want an operation, but still don't find the wrinkles on your face that great, I get asked to do the job. In the retouching process, I am asked to make skin look even and uniform. I shall optimize the looks, but not make a person look artificial.

The instruction is to manipulate a photograph, but so that you don't notice anything was done. Speaking of honesty. That's not honest, is it?

body positivity

/bɑː.di pɑː.zəˌtɪv.ə.t̬i/

feeling good about your body and the way you look

When we look in the mirror, we see what we really look like. Okay, a horizontally mirrored version of ourselves. But that's what we actually look like. Even a simple selfie with a modern smartphone no longer corresponds to the actual appearance.

The normal camera in a modern cell-phone does not depict reality. Even here, skin tones are made more even, more pleasant. And the wide angle of the camera which elongates everything to the edges of the image and thus leads to slimmer legs if you hold the smartphone at the right angle, is manipulation.

We lie to ourselves!
But we ❤ it.

Then there are the massive filters, face-tune apps and optimizations that all social media apps implemented these days. What comes out is an image that does not correspond to reality. But we accept it. We even demand it and celebrate it!

People primarily believe what they see. All additional sensory impressions are then processed by the brain in such a way that they match the optical impression. So the sense of sight is the boss. We believe what we see. Even if the pictures are manipulated. And also when we look at manipulated photos of ourselves (and know they were manipulated). I think that's pretty crazy. Right?

And when there is so much dishonesty, I asked myself whether honesty is really that important to us. And the answer is clear: no!

Even in the animal kingdom in courtship, birds fake their skills to impress the female. Peacocks may not be the best example as they are indeed quite impressive. Other birds collect rubbish to impress the females, for example. Anyways, my point is, optimization mania is given by nature.

We're basically just lying to ourselves (and to each other) because we're pretending to showcase honest photographs! That's over now.

Courtship attempt

Honesty Statement

I never said so, but I would like to clarify at this point: All photos that can be seen on my website have been edited. Optimized according to my personal taste. Just as I find it flattering. From my subjective point of view, I do little, but in reality I do a lot. I rarely deform (liquify) bodies, but I always remove all pimples and imperfections. Always. In every photo. The girls often have birthmarks. There is no such thing in my photos. A quirk of mine, inspired by fashion magazines that just pretend that even skin is something particularly beautiful. And it works.

In addition to skin retouching, there are always color adjustments in my pictures. No photo came out of the camera like it can be seen on my website. Here I spend hours optimizing until the picture matches the feelings I want to express. I am a color fetishist and really love color grading.

Besides that there is little manipulation in my photos. Every now and then I shape buttocks rounder. But only in roughly one out of a hundred photos.

And I would like to go one step further: we all want to look good. And this is fine. We're all vain! Among our own photos, we only show those on which we appear advantageous.

All of my clients want me to make them a little more beautiful. Even when I photographed a fitness trainer with a six-pack, I was asked to smoothen out the looks to create a 10 years younger looking person. I am happy to do my part in Photoshop, please don't get me wrong!

We all want to appear optimized, that corresponds to our nature. Body positivity is a hollow buzzword.

In a world in which we pretend to be open and honest with one another, we should also communicate this topic clearly: All photos in every advertisement and every magazine have been edited. There are no unretouched photos. And almost every photo that we consume in social media has been optimized as well.

Let's be honest!

Simon Bolz, Frankfurt
Tel.: +49 (69) 95 82 02 12
Mob.: +49 (172) 620 55 18


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