Girl's School Photo Gets Retouched to Make Her Look Thinner

girl's photo retouched high school

This week a young Reddit user posted an image of her high school student ID photo, and her accompanying story has earned over 500 comments and counting. It’s not that the photo is shocking on its own — it’s that she included both copies for the world to see: the original image, and the image the photography company retouched without her permission. For whatever reason, the company decided to alter this lovely young girl’s face, so much so that the final product looked markedly different from reality. It’s a sad example of how obsessed with appearances we’ve become as a society, and how unique this girl is for publicly stating that she loves her untouched image much better than the “improved” version she was given.

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Here’s what she posted on Reddit:

I go to an all girls high school and today every senior got a new student ID. We had gotten one in the beginning of the school year and we were all unsure as to why we were given a second. After closer inspection we realized that our photos had be retouched far past smoothing out blemishes. Here is a list of changes made in my photo:

- face smoothing
- skin recoloring
- lip recoloring
- eyebrow smoothing and reshaping
- face thinning

I was outraged! I have a round face that I have grown to love and now I get my photo back with a different face. The new photo no longer even looks like me but rather a prettier twin sister. When we go and have our photos taken we are flat out told that our skin will be retouched to hide blemishes. We are not told, however, that more drastic changes are made.

Going to an all girls school we are constantly reminded about positive body image and accepting ourselves for who we are. Having these changes made to make me appear thinner makes me wonder how must our school practices what they preach.

Here is a comparison of the two photos. The left is untouched and the right is the new photo.

Assuming this is all true, I’m completely bummed this happened to her. I didn’t even know photographers offered so much retouching for student photos, I thought the service was mostly intended for temporary blemishes that make an otherwise great photo feel awkward. You know, like a giant zit on your forehead, or a distracting dollop of mustard on your collar.

Good for her for sharing her story and talking to the school about the sort of message this sent to their students. She’s since added an update to her original post, saying that her school is backing her all the way:

After meeting with my high school it has been determined that the untouched original photos will be use in the yearbook. The edits were not made by my school but rather the company our school used. These changes were made with notification to the school. When our yearbook teacher saw the photos he was outraged along with all the other staff members of the school. They understood that the new edited photos are not what the students look like. I would like to thank all of the positive comments about how wrong this is and how there need to be changes in this. My school has proved that they are fully behind positive body image by printing the untouched photos. I am proud of my school and what they stand for. To sum it up, I want this issue of photoshopping to get the attention it needs but know that my school has realized that their students do not need to be "corrected.”

Right on! This is a young lady who seems to have her priorities in the right place. I’m glad she’s proud of her awesome self and uninterested in the pressure to adhere to a ridiculous set of beauty standards that have nothing to do with her worth as a person.

Have you heard of photographers making such drastic changes to students’ photos like this?


Images via alanant/Flickr; Imgur

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