SunnyBy Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown    

Poor Cindy Crawford. I feel really bad for her, don’t you? I mean, I can’t believe she actually looks like that. I’m sure you know what I am talking about. It was big news! For heaven’s sake, it was all anyone on social media could talk about for a good 15 minutes—maybe 20. If for some reason you were actually involved with living your own life and missed out on the entire event, I will fill you in. (What does this say about me?)

A couple of weeks ago there was a photo that surfaced all over the news—I mean on social media—of the supermodel Cindy Crawford, showing her posing in underwear and a fur coat—without her stomach, her neck, her chest, or her legs being photoshopped. OMG! I know, right? Oh, she had it coming alright; I mean, she is a supermodel after all (or she was). How dare she get older and have two children and actually show it? Women the world over trusted her and believed in her. They believed that She. Would. Not. Age. Or actually change in any way. She let everybody down. After all, we actually believed her photos with the #nofilter hashtag were what she really looked like. She gave us all hope that, with the right amount of money and our own personal trainers, we too could look like that. And now a photo has surfaced that dashes our hopes and exposes the fact that she is just a mere mortal like the rest of us. Aren’t you so depressed that you feel like eating a bag of chips and washing it down with a pint of ice cream?

That #nofilter hashtag that is going around is causing people great concern and putting undue pressure on us, making people feel bad about themselves. It is threatening to take away all the fun of having your photo taken. People are using it as a badge of honor, like they are better than you—they are #blessed, and you’re not. But I have to tell you, since I don’t want you to feel any more social media stress than you already do, that the #nofilter hashtag is nothing to be proud of—anyone can do it. Since I sleep with one of the best photographers around (the best, in my opinion), I happen to know the dirty little secret of the success of the #nofilter hashtag: It’s all about the light. Even youth looks better in good light. If you are in the right light, you can make anything look perfectly, “naturally” beautiful. But how often can you really depend on that light? Without it #nofilter is fine for a sunset, or your furry friends, but, no matter what you think, the picture of your bowl of spaghetti could use a good filter. And so could you.

There is a difference between taking a picture and making a photograph. I prefer the latter. How much fun it is to dress up in fun clothes, have your hair and makeup professionally styled, and play in front of the camera, bathed in beautiful light, knowing that anything you don’t like can be smoothed and cropped away? I can just imagine all the great portrait artists of the day, when they painted the world’s great beauties, and the sculptors who flawlessly carved the famous busts in marble, who, instead of capturing them in their best light, instead actually added in all of their flaws. I say give me the filter every time. After all, we see everything through the filter of our own perspectives. Everything is filtered. The position of the camera, the tilt of the head, the hint of a smile, the arm raised or lowered: The entire photograph is filtered. It’s about the angles, and the cropping—what to show and what to leave out. A photograph is never the entire truth. Why pretend that #nofilter is a virtue. It’s just another trick of light. I want to see the best of how things can be, especially myself. Which brings me to my new photo for this column.

When I was asked to provide a new photo, I just didn’t understand why we couldn’t continue to use the old one for another three years! However, for my new one, I am proud to say that I requested the glamour treatment. I wanted to use every filter invented. I don’t want the “real” me. I want them to photoshop the hell out of my image. It’s about creating glamour, putting on a show. I am not interested in “reality.” Hell, why would I go to all the effort and spend all that money on makeup, hair color, falling for the promises of facial products, and buying every candle in the store if I was interested in sabotaging it all with a picture of the real me? Give me that #filter! It’s a lot less invasive than botox parties and cheaper, too. Well, depending on how much must be done to restore your natural beauty.

So, as you can see, my new photo is #filtered, #photoshopped, and #retouchedwithinaninchofitslife. In fact, I don’t even recognize myself! INSERT PHOTO OF SOFIA VERGARA HERE. However, I can use these hashtags: #nobotox, #nofillers, #noinjections, #notyet! #It’sjustamatteroftime.

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