How to mess up your body confidence with your new phone

We’re not going to make a big deal of it, we are Apple people. We both have iPhones and we love them. But Nick’s phone started to annoy us recently, it got incredibly slow and it requires a recharge at least twice a day in order to get through all the new social media posts.
So the question rose: “Shouldn’t we get a new one?” We are in Asia, this is where smartphones are born. The iPhone X is way out of budget, but maybe we could get something cheaper?
A Huawei maybe?


Or an Oppo?
Oppo is a brand that is not yet known in “the west”, but builds a very popular kind of smartphones for the Asian market, in which the focus is completely on the cameras. Decent quality front and back cameras which will make sure that you can make the best selfies ever We all know that the Asians just loooooooove selfies, but it sounded like an interesting thought to us as well, it’s not that we need hundreds of apps while we are on the road, but the possibility to make great Instagram photos did appeal a lot to us. So we dived deeper into what they promised.


New Cambium intext 2
Beauty Technology
Other than impressing numbers when it comes to shutter speed, resolution, aspect ratio and a lot of other things that won’t mean anything to you if you’re not interested in photography, the Oppo F5 comes with a special kind of artifical inteligence (AI) which they call “Beauty Technology”. In fact, when you take a selfie, the software will try to make you more beautiful. And that’s just what we want, right?

Basically, your phone is telling you that you’re not beautiful enough to appear on your Facebook and Instagram profile and that they will make you look better via some new technology. We found this disturbing and frightening at the same time.
Of course adjustments to photos have been done for many years, long before digital photography existed, photographers had tricks to make their model look a bit more tight, a bit more fit, with a bit more tanned and equal skin. When Photoshop came on the shelves, all of this just got a lot easier and even the semi-professional photographer learned how to take away a wrinkle or two. We can only guess how humiliating this must be for models, to know that some guy has to spend hours to make you look good enough to be published in this or that magazine. But in the end, it was their job.


Everybody (online) supermodel
These days, twelve year olds have smartphones and are taking impressive loads of selfies. Social media have become their magazine. How absurd is it that when someone takes a selfie, it’s immediately “auto-corrected”? The original is not even shown anymore, it doesn’t exist. Somehow we’re moving back to the once very famous Second Life, except that our avatars are now a more beautiful version of ourselves. Correction: Something what the software on the phone “thinks” that is more beautiful.
Faces get a slightly different shape, hair becomes a bit more shiny, bodies become more or less curvy, little wrinkles and zits are removed and this is how your Instagram friends will see you from now on.
What does the twelve year old think when he or she looks at their photo and afterwards in the mirror?


Maestra Banner
This doesn’t only affect teenagers by the way. Nobody likes to hear that they could look better, but from that little device in their pockets they accept it, often without even thinking about it. Every selfie corrected via beauty technology is just a little reminder that you don’t look that good the way you are…

It’s not just Oppo
We’re shooting a lot at Oppo’s newest technology here, but they are certainly not the only ones.
Our other “big friend”, Facebook, has this very funny technology where you can give yourself bunny ears or cat ears or a crown or a nightcap or all kinds of other crazy things. It’s hilarious! But when you look into detail, other than putting a couple of cartoon ears on your head, they’ve also made your skin a bit softer and your face a bit thinner.
Skype has a very similar technology, although it seems to us that the changes they make to your appearance are a little bit less obvious than on Facebook.


And then there is YouCamPerfect or Facetune with the very interesting tag line “Facetune helps you look your Hollywood best, even in photos taken on mobile phones.”
We have to admit, many of us have tried a change of appearance to look a bit like Rihanna or the guy from the Twilight movies. Nick never stops telling people that the couple of grey hairs above his ears make him look like George Clooney.
But there’s a difference.
Changing how you look on photo “on the fly” seems to us like the best advertisement ever for plastic surgery. On photo you already look different, so why not make it permanent?
Why not take away those two wrinkles?
Why not correct your eyes a little?
Why not make your face look a bit sharper?
Why not make your skin look a lot smoother?
In the end, you will look like a Hollywood movie star! Or a hobbit.
What’s so wrong with just being you? Even when you did all the corrections the Beauty Technology indirectly advises you, don’t think that they’ll keep your picture as it is. That’s not how it’s designed. They’re not making you more beautiful, they just want to make you feel like you could be just a little bit better.

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11 thoughts on “How to mess up your body confidence with your new phone”

  1. Interesting and slightly unnerving post. Narcissism out of control in our crazy world. Makes me just want to find a naturist place out in nature somewhere and just be myself and take in the beauty of everything (without any touch ups). For me, the real beauty is our so-called blemishes where we are not perfect but are in fact just unique in ourselves. Oops. I need to stop reading this blog. Beginning to sound like you guys !!!

  2. Hahah good one,tho just a lil correction , every Android mostly has the beauty mode not just Oppo.
    But yeah , its true ,its crazy how people are opsessed these days to look “good” ,have abs, great hair .. and to have great looking clotes .. specially like you`ve said, ,teenagers,and i would add .the 20`s people.
    Now, everyone likes to see a nice face, hair ,body ,lets not lie about it, but the problem is that that became a standard in a sence of, amm .. your shoe sucks or ,or your car is old.. and so on ,you get it.. , people literally choose “friends” that have the same standard as they have in order to remain cool. Ya its crazy ..

  3. Ye gads! Automatic Fake News Photos.
    So who is in the mast head! Real people or not?
    They are mighty fine looking folks, so I hoping its the real deal.
    Lower down it looks like a real person on the left, if it was not a side by side comparison one would think so on the right too, but what’s the point? Well I guess you covered that, some software person feels if it can be done it should be done. My vote is for the real person.
    And, it used to take a mischievous friend to stick up finger bunny ears behind a head in a photo, now their is an app!
    Makes me think of that John Prine song – “I knew that topless lady had something up her sleeve… Blow up your t.v. throw away your (I phone), Go to the country”. Guess I am just a Luddite at heart. 🙂
    Thanks for your inspiring writing.

  4. A good post that resonates with a lot of the things I find wrong with the modern social media-driven age we now live in. The rise of Facebook, Twitter, and the like along with the ubiquity of smartphones is, I fear, breeding not only a generations of narcissists, but of people who are confronted with so many images of “perfection” that they start to think of themselves as “ugly” by comparison. This is not heathy.
    The thing is that it’s rarely possible to look one’s best in a selfie (although you two look pretty good in the first picture), no matter how many fancy pieces of software are used. Modern smartphone cameras may have blah-blah-megapixels, but this doesn’t actually make any difference. It’s all to do with optics.
    Most selfies are taken at arms-length (around a metre, depending on how long your arms are), and this results in what is known as perspective distortion. If the camera is too close to the subject, they will end up with a big nose, a large forehead and no ears. Pro photographers have always known this, so to get a flattering headshot that fills the frame with minimal distortion, they stand waaaaaaaay back from the subject and use a zoom lens. Same with movie cameras and TV cameras.
    This isn’t possible with a smartphone camera, as most of them don’t have an optical zoom, so getting a tight shot from far back involves digitally zooming, which results in a crappy, lo-res image.
    For anyone who’s interested, and who would like a more visual illustration of the phenomenon, check this out

    • You’ve hit a nail here… The cover photo is in fact taken with the YouCamPerfect app. Didn’t you find our skin a bit too smooth for a couple of Belgians who’ve spent the last three months around the equator? 🙂
      We don’t think that the “digital revolution” is actually a bad case, it does have a lot of advantages. We just try to show people the more tricky parts.

      • Oh sure, but what I meant was that the pose and angle of the cover photo was more flattering than most selfies.
        The picture of Lins on the right (the one without the cartoon ears) is very obviously processed, and, to be honest, unnervingly so. A lot of this software has the tendency to make people look kind of “un-human”
        As for the smoothness of your skin, I can only see your heads and shoulders in the cover pic, so I really can’t comment…

  5. Another great article Nic & Lins.
    We all want to look and feel good but fooling yourself with a beauty button isn’t the answer. I am my body and being a naturist has given me confidence that my body is ok, with all its wrinkles and flaws. Great job.

  6. It’s creepy how technology presents us with an ideal image without asking. Fake news from the moment you click on your iPhone. I love my wrinkles , my uneven face shows who I am. That’s naturism, being yourself with all your perfect and almost perfect parts. Luckily my mirror still shows (for now) who I am. It’ s always nice to read your posts. Thanks.

  7. The popular culture of posting pictures all the time of their fabulous life, has led to young women being afraid of being topless on the beach. Who knows someone would immediately publish a topless photo of them… A mobile phone isn’t equal anymore to freedom.


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