Meet Esther Honig - a woman who's Mother sometimes tells her that she is "too brave". This may help when you take into account the 'social experiment' that Esther has initiated entitled 'Before and After'.
We are keen to share her story with you in today's Lifestyle post today as we feel that it is a relevant insight into the very image-driven and immediately manipulated world we inhabit today.
Esther is a human interest reporter, social media enthusiast and as such, is not afraid of documenting her own experiences. However, she decided to take this one step further than most, by inviting others to manipulate or enhance her untouched image - transforming it into their idea of the ideal / best version of herself.
With the onset of social media, came a plethora of software and apps' such as Photoshop that enable the amateur to touch up images to create potentially the most 'idealised' rendering of themselves or others.
Esther's project 'Before and After' consists of inviting nearly 40 individual designers/illustrators (both experts and amateurs) from over 25 countries, with a limited budget of between $5 -$30 to enhance her untouched image, to represent their own cultural and personal ideas of beauty. Esther's only specific demand, was that the primary objective of the Before and After project was "to make me beautiful".
Here are a selection of the results that Esther has so far received. Some chose not to alter the original image to any great extent however equally, some designers felt that to reflect their own personal and cultural references, there needed to be some more significant 'enhancements'.
Esther admitted in a recent interview with Instyle that although Morocco sent her the most 'dymanic' image with her dressed in a hijab (see the rolling image at the top of this post), it was in fact the image from her own country the United States, that shocked her the most. Seen here below, it is obvious how radically manipulated it is "I felt like I was looking in the mirror and not recognising my own face".
It is clear from the results, that the idea of beauty, is very subjective and when looked at on a global level - continues to be an elusive concept. Some of the responses to this social experiment have been illuminating too, with many commenting that the more they looked at the altered images, the more they preferred the original.
Thanks for indulging us in highlighting this on our lifestyle post, but we felt that it was a relevant lifestyle issue in today's image-focused, 'selfie' driven social media world. We champion Esther for exploring the idea of a perfect beauty, and hope that it goes someway to help us to be happy to embrace the individual with all it's uniqueness, flaws and all - reinforcing that old adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder after all.