#parent | #kids | Rankin’s Selfie Harm asks teenagers to edit their photos for social media

Eve, 18 (Picture: Rankin)

We’re probably all guilty of tweaking our photos to show our best selves, whether it’s taking 34 selfies to get the perfect shot or applying the most flattering filter.

But the rise of apps designed specifically for easily editing pictures of yourself normalises taking those tweaks to another level.

Apps such as FaceTune let you slim your nose, blur out spots, and make your eyes look bigger.

With those options available, and with so many people taking them up, what’s happening to our sense of self? How is this affecting how we think we should look?

Rankin’s new project, Selfie Harm, explores this.

Rankin photographed 14 teenagers, then handed them the images to edit and filter until they felt the picture was ‘social media ready’.

Not one girl left her photo unedited.

Mahalia, 19 (Picture: Rankin)
Benedicte, 16 (Picture: Rankin)

Instead the teenagers slimmed their jawlines, made their noses smaller, and brightened their skin.

‘People are mimicking their idols,’ says Rankin, ‘and all for social media likes.

‘It’s just another reason why we are living in a world of FOMO, sadness, increased anxiety, and Snapchat dysmorphia. It’s time to acknowledge the damaging effects that social media has on people’s self-image.’

The photo series forms part of a new project called Visual Diet, which sees M&C Saatchi, Rankin and MTArt Agency team up to explore how the images we consume are affecting our mental health.

(Picture: Rankin)
(Picture: Rankin)

The website reads: ‘In the age of the influencer, we’re increasingly force-fed thousands of images every day.

‘Hyper-retouched, sexually gratuitous bite-sized images are served up fast and fleeting. They often leave us feeling hollow and inadequate.

‘These are the empty calories. The visual calories we gorge on because they’re there. Our appetite for this type of content is insatiable. It is visual sugar and we are addicted.

‘Consuming too much of this content seriously harms your mental health.’

Emma, 16 (Picture: Rankin)
(Picture: Rankin)

What can we do about all this?

Well, neither Selfie Harm nor Visual Diet has revealed the secret cure just yet.

More: Beauty

You can start by unfollowing people and brands who make you feel rubbish. Those of us who do edit our photos could make that clear in the captions. We could ban apps that allow (and encourage) the average selfie-taker to alter their image.

There’s no quick, easy fix to create a culture of self-love and acceptance. But this photo series shows that we have to keep taking the steps to make it happen.

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