The quote 'a picture is worth a thousand words' is so apt in a world that thrives on images; 'worth' being the key word because many today are making their fortunes on pictures alone. No one can deny that they're at least part of one of the social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, and it's these platforms that have allowed us to express ourselves through colourful and often reflective imagery. But the question I pose is whether there is any truth in the images we now see and why is there so much importance on an image?
We are inherently visual beings; pictures or videos are what catches our attention before anything is said or heard. Everything is marketed to be more aesthetically pleasing, so we buy based on what we first see and then deal with what we actually have later. If we take, for example Facebook, we choose more times than not, an image of ourselves where we look better than usual. Maybe a moment captured at a party or at a dinner event, but definitely somewhere where we have made an effort to look good. Sometimes we'll even hear ourselves saying 'let's take a picture for Facebook!' or 'let's take a picture so I can post it on Instagram!' And why do we do this? On a subconscious level and something we don't really like to say out loud: gratification. We like the fact that friends and family see the image and say how pretty or gorgeous we look. It gives us a sense of confidence and high self-esteem. But this confidence is a confidence created superficially; a confidence spurred on by an image that we have benevolently manipulated for the purpose of getting positive feedback.
The false preconception of an image is just one of the many by-products of the society we live in today. We're so obsessed with showing the world what we have without understanding the repercussions. The truth of any image is now, more than ever, questionable. This article, inspired by Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, is what made me link today's reliance on imagery with truth. You can argue that the trait of being earnest and the truth in who you are, are both one and the same and so using images of yourself or other things to reflect you, should be both honest and earnest. As Wilde states in his famous play, 'the truth is rarely pure and simple' and the same can be said with the truth in images. What surmises to be true can be manipulated to draw the most attention.
My business is driven by the use of images but I strive to make them as authentic as possible. Sure, there are those moments, of what many would argue as narcissism, where I must make up my face with various makeup products and advertise it, but this is all part and parcel of the beauty industry. Nevertheless, rather than intentionally posing, I ensure the products and product application is the basis for discussion as opposed to my face itself. I look to inspire others rather than seek gratification for the work that I do. After all, having helped and inspired others is the best result above anything else. I create images and use images that tell a story, a story that will lead others to see their potential and their opportunities so they can be successful and content. Images are so powerful; they can magnify the existence of a problem that needs a solution or illustrate the beauty in everything around us. Rather than exhaust the conventional use of social media, why not use these platforms as a means to spread positive notions and tell an honest story. You may say that stories are in some form fictional, but don't you wonder where stories really come from? There is truth in what we can tell and the same should apply to the images we share.
Knowing that you have inspired others, should be the confidence booster as opposed to hearing sweet nothings. Knowing that the image you create or share should hold more truth and honesty than falsities and a sense of unattainability. Others should feel like they can be and do, what you are and what you do, with a sense of belief, high self-esteem and self-assurance.
To-love-Beauty is always says, 'beauty in all things should be inspired and not foretold.'
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