（Contributed by Sharan)
Airbrushing is a term used to describe the act of “brushing” or cleaning up flaws using a digital programme. The original and most widely used programme for doing this a popular raster graphics editor.
Airbrushing is quite an impressive technique, and one that is deployed to enhance features. It’s something I have never really thought about—that is until I started studying digital imaging.
One of the things I love about using these programmes is their ability to remove red-eye effects, because they are not a natural look for anyone! Where it gets clinical, I feel, is when the tiniest imperfections are covered up (i.e. airbrushed). For what purpose do we need to disguise every human flaw?
Perfection in this context, then, can be overrated. Added to this, I witnessed something quite shocking the other day. I watched an expert photographer airbrush photos of herself as a child! I think that’s going too far.
I positively cringe every time I see a young girl dressed up as a little lady for a beauty pageant. These young school girls are made to wear skin-tight outfits, a face full of make-up, with lacquered hair.
I know cultural norms dictate the way we raise our children, but surely these chemicals, products and hidden messages are unhealthy. It saddens me because females at an early age begin to seek validation through their physical appearance.
Airbrushing can go too far to create impressive illusions of perfection. Smartphones contain replica graphics editing applications. A very popular mobile photo-sharing service is just one example of this. It is important to remember not to dwell on the tiniest imperfections and to look at the whole overall package; to remember that published images have been distorted in favour of a certain “perfect” or “flawless” look.
I actually prefer the artistic element of the popular raster graphics editor; I identify with creativity, and digital art is a fantastically modern way to express this. The process of creating cartoon-type versions of real images is also an eye-opener to me. I think those kinds of techniques are fun and capture my interest more.
One of the best things about the graphics editor is the various ways we can implement style, texture and lighting—and even distort an image in the name of design. Creating cool artwork is not meant to be picture-perfect, it’s meant to be eye-catchingly original, and I am a fan of that.