Sunday, January 12, 2020

digital glam #2 - glow up








from Glow Aesthetics, a piece at Real Life about how
"ubiquitous cameras are changing the meaning of makeup" by Dalia Barghouty

"In the cosmetics aisle in the drugstore, the influence of social media and the cameras we carry with us everywhere is evident. Wet-n-Wild’s display boasts a comparison of a woman’s face with and without their product, asserting that their highlighters are not only good, but specifically good for being captured by your phone....

"In sharing her images, Kardashian West claimed that highlighting gives “skin a natural, glowing look, especially on camera,” attributing naturalness to what is also at once a conspicuous enhancement of “glow.” Similarly, the name of Revlon’s PhotoReady Candid collection suggests a reversal of the common and tired presumption that makeup is a form of falsity or deception.....

"Our image on a screen is increasingly how we “really” look to other people, leading to new ways to augment our self-presentation. Social media feeds teem with neon, prismatic shimmers, chrome, filters, and glow. Snapchat and TikTok effects sparkle and glimmer. People share their “golden hour” looks — trendy selfies taken before sunset or after dawn, resulting in an elusive glow....

"some of these augmentative effects are created with algorithms, filters, and other forms of digital postproduction. But some have long been created on the surface of the skin rather than the image, with makeup highlighters to accentuate and brighten the face and body. Along with contouring, highlighting can create the perception of depth or angles on the face, leaving every area of the skin it touches luminous and glowing in a way that seems to pop in image feeds, capturing attention with an eye-catching gleam as users scroll through. Unlike strictly digital effects, these analog efforts to produce glow foreground the paradoxes inherent in being equally present in images, feeds, and physical spaces simultaneously. They evoke not an edit of reality but something that is at once a process of transformation and its realization."

"Where Kardashian West pursued a “natural” glowing highlight, glow aesthetics can also celebrate deliberately excessive highlighter use. There has been a vogue recently for ostentatious, almost unwearable displays of makeup glow across the range of social media users... As opposed to more additive forms of makeup meant to masquerade or completely transform, highlighter in its translucent sheen scintillates across the face and body, in and out of focus, allowing us to luxuriate in the sheer self for an instant. Glow can appear to happen to us spontaneously, even when we deliberately pursue it, allowing augmentation also to play out as a discovery. This light is captured via the flash of a phone camera and then shared on social media, resulting in a “more real” self-presentation. Makeup then works as not a tool of artifice but a way to manifest our being on and in relation to our camera lens, our screen, and ourselves.

."...Highlighters, in their excess, suggest a glimmer of an “embodied singularity” — the body’s implication in a single instant in space and time. But the highlighted face, an aesthetic representation of our very embodiedness, is not free from the tendrils of capitalist semiotics...."

Monday, December 16, 2019

digital glam #1 - instagram face

Often on my travels, especially in Europe for some reason, I see someone - usually a woman, not always though - who looks digital.

Skin-tone just a little too even...  hair unnaturally straight and glossy...  eyebrows sculpted... eyelashes lushly thick and black -  lips unrealistically plumped and perfect...

It's pretty easy to work out this is the byproduct of  the presentation of self in digital life -  social media, dating apps, etc etc. People using filters and colorizing and other cosmetic enhancements of the image, done after the fact rather than beforehand (make-up, flattering angles, good natural light). Post-production lighting adjustments, a pixel-level grooming of public self. Then trying to look like that engineered online image in your everyday life. 

As Jia Toleninto puts it in The New Yorker: "Contemporary systems of continual visual self-broadcasting—reality TV, social media—have created new disciplines of continual visual self-improvement."

That's from her deep-dive feature  on the phenomenon of Instagram Face - "how social media, FaceTune, and plastic surgery created a single, cyborgian look"

"It’s a young face, of course, with poreless skin and plump, high cheekbones. It has catlike eyes and long, cartoonish lashes; it has a small, neat nose and full, lush lips. It looks at you coyly but blankly, as if its owner has taken half a Klonopin and is considering asking you for a private-jet ride to Coachella. The face is distinctly white but ambiguously ethnic—it suggests a National Geographic composite illustrating what Americans will look like in 2050, if every American of the future were to be a direct descendant of Kim Kardashian West, Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, and Kendall Jenner (who looks exactly like Emily Ratajkowski)....

"Instagram, which launched as the decade was just beginning, in October, 2010, has its own aesthetic language: the ideal image is always the one that instantly pops on a phone screen....

"Snapchat, which launched in 2011 and was originally known as a purveyor of disappearing messages, has maintained its user base in large part by providing photo filters, some of which allow you to become intimately familiar with what your face would look like if it were ten-per-cent more conventionally attractive—if it were thinner, or had smoother skin, larger eyes, fuller lips. Instagram has added an array of flattering selfie filters to its Stories feature. FaceTune, which was released in 2013 and promises to help you “wow your friends with every selfie,” enables even more precision....

"You get the feeling that these women, or their assistants, alter photos out of a simple defensive reflex, as if FaceTuning your jawline were the Instagram equivalent of checking your eyeliner in the bathroom of the bar...

"Twenty years ago, plastic surgery was a fairly dramatic intervention: expensive, invasive, permanent, and, often, risky. But, in 2002, the Food and Drug Administration approved Botox for use in preventing wrinkles; a few years later, it approved hyaluronic-acid fillers, such as JuvĂ©derm and Restylane, which at first filled in fine lines and wrinkles and now can be used to restructure jawlines, noses, and cheeks. These procedures last for six months to a year and aren’t nearly as expensive as surgery....

'"There was something strange.. about the racial aspect of Instagram Face—it was as if the algorithmic tendency to flatten everything into a composite of greatest hits had resulted in a beauty ideal that favored white women capable of manufacturing a look of rootless exoticism..."



haha at the comment left by the robot

digital glam #2 - glow up

from Glow Aesthetics , a piece at Real Life about how "ubiquitous cameras are changing the meaning of makeup" by Dali...