Photoshop Plasticized: Losing Our Heritage

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Iman is a photographer who, through her unique process of coaching and photography, can show a woman what other people see when they look at her. She is passionate about teaching other photographers how to live and be a professional and making change in the world. She dreams of changing the way women look at their bodies and how the world defines beauty. She also thinks being an instructor on CreativeLIVE would be incredible. Iman battles Lyme disease and shares her unique view of dreaming while fighting for her health. Her post day is Wednesday. Iman Woods If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4
Photoshop is well known as synonymous with lies.

We all know Photoshop is an incredible program and that we shouldn’t believe everything we see.

Professional photographers know this all too well. As women, we constantly compare ourselves to photoshopped models and find our own selves lacking.

But I see a much bigger problem.

Photoshop and plastic surgery have similarities that are disturbing. (Author’s note: This is not an admonishment of surgically modifying your body, that’s a personal decision and I have no personal opinion about what you do with your own body.)

I do care about the implications of changing ourselves to fit an external ideal and how this will affect future generations. Do we want our grandchildren not to recognize themselves in photos from our youth?

We are choosing to erase our heritage so that we fit into what’s physically popular NOW.

  • Turn on any episode of Real Housewives (insert city here) and you’ll see people of many different nationalities who look remarkably similar. Especially Real Housewives of Beverly Hills the second plastic surgery capital of the world.
  • What if men got surgery to look like Greek statues? First, the whole fig leaf thing would be weird and second, women today aren’t attracted to that ideal. Tim Tebow has been called Greek statuesque, but he’s much taller, broader and tanner than his Greek counterparts.
  • Just as photoshop erases lines, thins features, and seeks an external beauty ideal, so does plastic surgery. There are frightening movements in the plastic surgery industry to erase ethnic heritage.
  • Some clinics are even advertising ethnic plastic surgery which aims to improve but maintain your unique nationality, trying to maximize the inevitable (profitable?) gray area.
  • An article on says, “Eyelid surgery is not simply a matter of wannabe white, it’s also about trying to remedy their experiences of racism.”

Is this truly a way to limit bullying? Or is it giving the bully FAR more power than they ever hoped for?

You’d have to live under a rock not to have seen the progression Michael Jackson’s face took over the years. Skin condition aside, he had major work done.

I imagine a deep self-hatred led to trying to match his image to what he felt was socially most attractive and lovable. If he had only been HIMSELF he would have been much more than enough and role model to people everywhere regardless of race.

I take Photoshop VERY seriously and have a strict code of ethics that I follow when retouching clients.

Photoshop is something I take seriously. So I toiled over the idea of taking a photo of myself and trying to use Photoshop to erase my ethnicity to make an example for this blog.

But, honestly, it creeped me out! And I’m PROUD of my heritage, dark eyebrows, curves and all. So a better image is one of me accepting myself and reveling in my unique beauty. That’s Guyanese (Indian), Arab, and Texan in my melting pot.

I’m proud y’all.

Photoshopped but NOT plastic! Iman Woods and Linh Sellers rock their respective nationalities

Iman Woods and Linh Sellers rock their respective nationalities

What do you love about yourself in photos? Share in the comments!

~ Iman

  • Catherine

    I love my hair and smile. I am also proud of my freckles. It’s part of my Irish heritage. Lovely photo.


    • ImanWoods

      I think what makes people unique makes them beautiful! Rock those Irish freckles! I can’t believe I posted that photo. :) Liberating.

  • I didn’t love a lot in my photos for many years – the typical female trait of picking apart everything we think is wrong with our faces and bodies. Now I’m much more comfortable with photos. Not only because of my weight loss, but the confidence I have now. Might be the over 40 fact too… nothing like getting your priorities straight to not really care if a photo is “perfect”. 

    Love that you help your clients show off their heritage!

    Happy Holidays Iman :) – Heather

    • ImanWoods

      I seriously LOVE the photos of you. It might help that your loving hubby takes them. :) I can see your confidence. Happy New Year!

      • Thanks sweets! Hope you are taking care of you and your little one this holiday season :) Thinking of you! Happy New Year!