Several months ago I was moments away from speaking at a conference in Washington DC when a man with several cameras around his neck introduced himself as the official photographer and asked if I would allow him to take a picture of me with his business card “so the event managers would be able to tell” my session was photographed by him once they had all the pictures in one file. It sounded like a reasonable request so I held the card between my fingers and smiled. I thought it strange that he showed me the picture after he took it. It wasn’t really “for” anything. Why did it matter to me what it looked like?
I went on to give a 90-minute presentation on why being too nice is bad for business, but the opposite isn’t mean it is truth and that truth without compassion is cruel. If the Q&A, book sales and warm thank you’s I received afterward were any indication, the talk was very well received. I didn’t give any more thought to the photographer and I couldn’t have told you if he was in the room during my presentation or not.
A few days later I received an email saying pictures of the event had been posted to the photographer’s Facebook page. I decided to pop over to see if there were any good ones of me speaking. My bright purple/pink jacket stood out and it was easy to spot my pictures in the sea of thumbnails. I clicked on the first one ….
I thought, “Yikes that is an awful picture! I look really tired, the lighting was awful and why didn’t I have on any lipstick?” (You know how kind we are to ourselves when it comes to images.)
I scrolled down through the thumbnails and saw my jacket again. I clicked on the image. What I saw staring back at me was me – sort of – but it wasn’t. It was some alien form of me. What had they done to my picture?
I felt like I was looking at a plastic doll version of myself. The face was a different shape, the eyes a different color, the neck was strangely long, even the skin looked strange. I have never had such a disconcerting response to a picture of myself. Even looking at it now makes my skin crawl.
To up the “ewww” factor even further, several days later I saw a video on the power of Photoshop. At the beginning of it the woman and I look nothing alike. By the end, her plastic version and mine could be sisters.
After seeing the “perfected” version of me, I’ve decided I don’t want to look like a clone of every Photoshopped woman. I want to look like me; not some creepy version of me. I believe every woman should have the opportunity to see her Photoshopped self – Once. It is very eye opening experience.
Have you ever been over-Photoshopped? How did it feel when you looked at the picture?
As always, I wish you the MOST from your potential!
*Note – The images in this post were cropped to protect the guilty.
Dr. Robyn Odegaard (aka “Doc Robyn”) is internationally known conflict resolution expert, motivational speaker, executive coach and corporate trainer. As CEO of Champion Performance Development, she works with executives, professionals, athletes, and coaches to help them achieve excellence in all aspects of life through active leadership, powerful teamwork, effective communication, Productive Conflict™ and professional disagreement skills. She is the founder of the Stop The Drama! Campaign and author of the books Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams and The Ultimate Guide to Handling Every Disagreement Every Time. To work with her one-on-one, have her present to your team, request a custom workshop or invite her to speak at your event, email her at DocRobyn@ChampPerformance.com or call 302-307-3091.