No matter how beautiful and ‘perfect’ the photos on your Instagram feed might look, not all of them are real. Some are so heavily photoshopped, edited, and altered, it’s borderline ridiculous. I know, it sounds unbelievable that somebody would lie on the internet like this!
This is where the Instagram Reality subreddit comes in. It’s a community that finds and shames the most heavily photo-edited IG pictures. Check out their newest pics below and upvote the ones that blew your minds the most, dear Pandas. And read on for Bored Panda's interview with one of the moderators at r/InstagramReality, redditor Cluelessnumber7.
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Moderator Cluelessnumber7 explained to Bored Panda about the two main negative effects of heavily photoshopping photos. "The first? The unrealistic expectations influencers purport to their impressionable followers. The amazingly smooth skin, suddenly common almond shaped eyes, pouty lips, sharp jaw lines, slim hourglass shapes, and so on," they said.
"What’s being lost by just posting that photo for the masses is the time it took to pick the outfit, hunt down the right lighting, pick which hand to take the selfies with (yes, seriously), and that’s all before smoothing, refining, and resizing in Facetune. Without disclosing that, there is now a countless amount of people comparing themselves (and perhaps spending money to look like) a person who doesn’t exist," the redditor pointed out one of the dangers of influencers heavily altering their own appearance.
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"The second is one that many people don’t like to address—the insecurities of those who feel the need to edit their photos. They’ve been editing their photos for so long it could mean losing the validation from their followers, losing followers, and maybe losing sponsors if they came clean. So, they would rather enjoy the false fame, than risk losing it over integrity."
We also wanted to find out what steps could be taken to reduce the amount of photo-editing that people do online. "This is a very complicated question, but one step that we should fight for is to get rid of all filters that alter the shape, size, or proportions of anything to do with someone’s body," Cluelessnumber7 told us.
"Filters have become a crutch for so many people on Instagram that they now edit their still photos to look like their filtered Snapchat videos; adjusting their noses, tone of their skin, smoothing all blemishes, adding lashes in post," they said. "These filters, while fun, are surprisingly insidious. You don’t realize that you expect to look like the filtered version of yourself, until you attempt to take a photo without them."
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While there’s nothing wrong with putting an artistic filter on a photo to slightly change the colors, it’s easy to go overboard. A handful of changes can become a dozen which then become a hundred and soon enough, you’ve airbrushed yourself so much, you can’t even recognize yourself anymore.
According to Brooke Erin Duffy, an assistant professor at Cornell University studying self-presentation on Instagram, “Nobody wants to be called fake.” So deciding how much to edit your photos is a huge dilemma for influencers.
“Influencers very much feel they need to present themselves authentically while getting the best image possible,” she told The Guardian.
Meanwhile, the Instagram Reality community moderators further shared their own thoughts about photoshopping pictures in a previous interview with Bored Panda.
According to them, Instagram users want to see influencers post natural photos of themselves, not something that’s been “edited to hell” and back. The mods remain optimistic that influencers will eventually realize that, especially with part of the global population still stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The things that make people yearn to photoshop themselves into ‘perfect’ human beings are “insecurity, envy, and money,” as well as avoiding embarrassment because you think you might have hang-ups about some parts of your body or face.
However, natural photos have a lot of charm because they’re authentic, honest, and more people can relate to them.
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Note: this post originally had 84 images. It’s been shortened to the top 40 images based on user votes.