Art imitating life: The new age of filters

If you thought Nashville and Valencia were cities, your world is about to change.

In the old days (I can still say that), black and white was the norm. Actually, that was it. The introduction of the colour photo brought a new element to our world. We could capture eye colour, hair colour and skin tone; the beauty of florals and landscapes. But despite all this, imperfection was prevalent and there was nothing we could do to change it.

Fast forward to 2016: the era of photoshop and social media. The “instant generation”. Images are at our fingertips and those that aren’t can be created in seconds. Facebook and Instagram are challenging what is possible. Just as we can filter what we say, we can now filter what we see. People can make themselves brighter, darker, smoother or sharper. We can iron out imperfections and portray ourselves as a figure of what was once our imagination. But power carries great responsibility and we don’t seem to be carrying much of that anymore.

Businesses are bombarding our news feeds with images that are unattainable, yet utterly desirable. Art is limiting natural beauty, not enhancing it. We can airbrush our freckles, even our skin tone and change our facial contours. In fact, there is nothing we can’t change. Why love yourself when you can edit instead?

Import a photo to Instagram, apply a “Valencia” filter, adjust the brightness, add some warmth and highlights, remove the shadowing and apply a gentle fade. There you have it, a completely edited version of yourself. Are you happy now? Well I guess that depends on how many “likes” you get.

The notion of filtering is like the art of magic; it’s the power of influencing events by using mysterious forces. Filters are the force by which we can influence the images we share with others. But magic brings its sceptics who are inclined to question or doubt what they see. We need more sceptics in society who will challenge what the world is presenting to them; who will interpret filtered images as “art”, not life.

Next time you take a picture, just post it. Raw and unedited. There in lies the real magic.