Sep 28, 2014

Photoshop and Finding Femme: Let's Talk the Beauty Truth

There is a lot of healthy movement online at the moment on the topic of unrealistic expectations of beauty. There have been public calls for transparency in regards to the digital manipulation of images used to present 'beautiful' women in advertising. Delightfully Tacky wrote a great piece on it over on her blog here, with some great example images. Her examples include ribs, rolls, thighs and size all being erased in order to prepare an image for public consumption.

I'm a supporter of the push for transparency in this imagery, so I think it is appropriate that I show honesty about my images too. It is important to know what to expect when you're looking at my pictures and what I will or will not adjust using image editing software.

Most people refer to digital image manipulation a 'photshopping' a picture. I tend to edit my pictures in bulk and for that the Photoshop program is too much work to process the images. I don't do them one at a time, I do them 30 at a time. Adobe offers a more lightweight, batch editing photo program called Lightroom which suits me for this purpose perfectly.

Firstly, let's talk about what is off limits for me. I will not, ever, use a digital image manipulation program to remove: wrinkles, cellulite, thighs (no false gaps here), rolls, bulges. There's a lot of work that goes into these things and when I'm editing a lot of pictures, it's not even worth entertaining the thought of doing photo edits like this as it would take up too much time. I prefer my photos too look as natural and polished as I can.

Things I will do with pictures: remove huge bags under my eyes. Here's an example below in which lighting and angle combined to make me look like I was making a coffee commercial.

You have probably noticed the difference in colour and brightness as well. When I process the images I also adjust the exposure levels, colour vibrancy, and temperature of the picture. The above picture has been lightened and made warmer. Below is an example where I had to lighten the foreground only.

In the next one, I've cut out my mullet. I didn't have time to get a haircut before getting these pictures taken, so I had to work with the the images we captured.

The below picture is an example of teeth whitening and removal of under eye circles. You can see the difference in hair colour. My extremely yellow hair is testament to how yellow my teeth became when I made the image 'warmer'. It was also more noticeable because of the red lipstick, so I toned my teeth down to a more natural colour.

Above is another example of teeth whitening for similar reasons. See how much more yellow my hair is in the warmer picture? This means my teeth where really yellow in the image as well. Below you can see that I have blended a red car into the background by making it less bold. I have previously removed prominent street signs as well.

In short, I can remove pimples, eye circles, ugly things in the background or on the streetscape, yellow teeth, loose strands of hair. In some instances I may reinforce my eyeliner or mascara, especially if the photos are after and long day and my makeup has worn off. I never add longer lashes or darken my skin (I know I'm pale and it has taken me years to learn to love it).

If you ever see an image on my blog and you want to see what I have done to alter it, you are always welcome to comment and ask me.

My mission is to create beautiful, inspiring and emotive images, not images that make people ashamed of their body. If you have any questions about this content, I'm happy to talk to you about it :)


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Sep 19, 2014

Cherry Blossoms, Skirts and Ikebana

We have welcomed September with the first days of spring. Yet on Modcloth, one of my regular shopping haunts, the styles have turned to autumn tones. With this changing of season comes the all new style of Ikebana Skirt. I already own two other styles of this particular skirt and was keen to add this new flourish of floral to my collection. As you can see, the deep reds and purples sing of autumn, not of spring. It was perfect then, that our spring blossoms were coloured with pinks and deep reds. Today's styling is therefore a spring and autumn hybrid. I hope you enjoy more serious colours to match this celebration of new growth and the breaking of winter. I also have written a little poem in celebration of the sweet cherry blossoms that grace our streets for such a short time. 

Cherry Blossoms
Little sleepy fairies in the winter kingdom wake.
Cocooned inside their armour which rays of sunshine flakes;
Peels away their prison and whispers in their ear
‘Wake up little fairies, the springtime sunshine’s here.’

These photos have been taken at the incredible location of the Titanic Band Stand in Ballarat. On the main promenade in Ballarat is a band stand dedicated to the musicians that died aboard the Titanic. I have been told before (by someone who attended) that each year, at the exact time of the sinking in the dark of night, musicians gather in the bandstand with people wishing to pay their respects. At the time of sinking, they play Nearer My God To Thee, then have a minute of silence and depart. Atop the bandstand is a windlass which is adorned with a cast iron Titanic. I lived in Ballarat 14 years before my best friend (a new resident) pointed it out to me and I was fascinated at this teenie little ship that I had spent my whole life oblivious to. Thanks Melanie! xx

 The below image is of my sister at the anniversary of the Titanic sinking. The Ballarat Fashions in Time group held and commemorative morning tea (among other festivities) at the bandstand for which we all dressed era appropriate. I have a couple of snaps from the occasion on my Flickr (scroll to the end of album).

The bandstand is surrounded by steep flower beds and large old cherry blossom trees. While the garden beds are well maintained all year round, it is just for these short weeks of blossom that we truly get to experience the serenity of the location. I think it is also perhaps a little nod to the time of year in which the tragedy occurred as these trees would be blooming in April in the northern hemisphere.

My little cherry blossom branch is well camouflaged against the tapestry pattern of the Ikebana skirt.

What is a Ballarat streetscape without a little yarn bombing? I almost cropped this out of the picture but then I remembered there is currently a local scandal with some no life resident having complained about yarn wrapped posts being... I don't know... too radical. I've left the yarn bombed tree limb in frame in solidarity with rational people who love colour, art and vibrancy in a cold and dreary winter city.

Flower crown: impromptu tree branch
Earrings: Bok Bok B'Gerk
Top: JacquiE
Belt: Thefted from Tegan
Skirt: Modcloth (this Ikebana Skirt colour is called 'bouquet'
but I think it should be called 'tapestry' or 'couch')
Shoes: Modcloth
Photos: Tegan Barnes
Location: Titanic Band Stand, Ballarat

I feel I must write more poetry. Until next time xx

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Sep 12, 2014

Floral Blazer, Jeans, and Me at the TPFF

Let's all agree that this is exactly what the working uniform would be if I owned some sort of fast food chain. I feel only the floral takes away from the burger-joint look. I'm slowly working on growing out my pixie cut and here is my hair fresh from the new stage of style. I've got some fun news that I'm sort of bursting-at-the-seams to announce, sort-of-terrified about.

A lovely girlfriend of mine is the VIP Coordinator of the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival. It's a role she's done for a few years, and this year during TPFF week she will be overseas. She asked me earlier this month if I would be willing to 'be her' for the week and I've happily said yes. Tomorrow we plan the schedule for the week. It looks intense, exciting, challenging, fun. I'm looking forward to meeting some fantastic people and making sure they have a great time at TPFF. Due to the sudden overload of my schedule (all this fun is including uni assignments) in a couple of weeks I may be one blog post shy. I hope you don't mind, and that if you can, you make it to TPFF.

Blouse: Modcloth (I have switched ties, obv)
Blazer: Dangerfield
Belt: Glassons
Jeans: Dejour Jeans, Brunswick (Melbourne)
Shoes: MYER
Photos: Stu
Location: Perth

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Sep 9, 2014

What I Wore: August

August may have been the last month of winter for me, but with so much fine weather you could hardly tell. These are not the images of a winter child. I blame Perth.

Hat: Pimkie in Nice, France
Cardigan: Miss Behavin, Ballarat (in store only)
Dress: Holiday in Nice dress (sold out), Wheels and Dollbaby. 
Belt: Thrifted
Shoes: Sandler
Bracelet: Custom typewriter keys in my name by Lally
Earrings: vintage clip on pearls inherited from my great grandmother
Location: Hyde Park
Photos: Stu Rapley
Blog post here.

BeltBlouseMidi Skirt: Review Australia
Shoes: MYER
Lolita Sunglasses: Sportsgirl
Earrings: Forever New
Location: The Constitutional Centre of Western Australia
Photos: Stu Rapley
Blog post here.

Dress: Dangerfield
Sunglasses: eBay
Shoes: Sandler
Marie Brooch: Inherited
Bag: Inherited
Photos: Stu
Blog post here.

Earrings: Forever New
Necklace: Polli
Dress: Alannah Hill
Shoes: B.A.I.T Footwear or via Modcloth
Photos and Flowers: Stu
Location: Perth
Blog post here.

Blouse: Review
Skirt: Modcloth
Shoes: Sandler
Sunglasses: eBay
Location: Nahm Thai Cafe - Northbridge
Photos: Stu
Blog post here.

Hello September! Let's do this thing.

Oops! PS here is my screenshot of my Stylebook calendar for the month of August.

- L

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Sep 5, 2014

Budding Spring - Mint Polka Dots

Hooray for the first day of spring. Flowers are starting to bloom and cold days are starting to become inexcusable. I am celebrating in a hard to find dress that I wanted from Modcloth years ago, but before I was confident enough to buy online. This dress was long gone from the website before I started shopping and it has long been a dress I thought of with regret. This one came into my life when a lovely lady parted with hers on eBay and I was finally united with the dress of my dreams.

I took it out to Queens Gardens in Perth to have fun and enjoy the feel of a new dress.

I want to say hello to Yoko, from the Ballarat Arts community, who let me know a little while ago that she was really enjoying my posts. It was great to hear that someone else gets enjoyment from something that I enjoy doing and enjoy sharing. So here's a post from me to you, Yoko! <3

Dress: Modcloth
Belt: stolen from another dress
Shoes: Bettie Page - Modcloth
Photos: Stu
Location: Queens Gardens

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