We have all been there. You meet the great-looking hunk from the online ad in person, but he looks like Homer Simpson in real life. Or worse still: you finally decide to enter the dating arena deploying the all-powerful, glamour, sexy shot – but you turn out like a misshapen potato not even a massive photoshopping session can fix. What gives?
Chicago photographer Gracie Hagen has the answer, in the form of her latest series titled Illusions of the body. The work is based on a simple idea: taking two identical photos sharing the same set, same lighting, same setup and even the same nude model – with one difference. The first shot has the person carefully posing for a flattering effect, while the second features a natural, relaxed position. No further editing required.
As you can see in the full gallery, the effect is nothing short of amazing, especially because the subjects really come in every shape and size. Many series by other artists used this before/after approach already, focusing on makeup, digital editing, lighting and other external factors. I am not aware of any previous project like this however, and surely not one using “real people” instead of professional models.
The aim of the series is a noble one, for it is meant to teach self-acceptance for one’s body showing how little it takes to make just everybody beautiful, and how we should be more forgiving with ourselves instead of falling for an unfair comparison with a media-built concept of “sexy”. It is also a nice cheatsheet for your next selfie. Just remember to keep posing when you are meeting that stranger from the dating site.