Photo editing software has morphed to such a point that it is hard to tell if what you are seeing is the real thing or simply someone’s wild imagination being played out in digital media. It used to be that if you wanted to pass off a muscular body as your own you would need to cut your face out of an existing printed photo and tape it on to a magazine clipping of Mr. Olympia. This rudimentary technique could also be used to change the location of the photo, the friends you are with or the activity being done. This may be funny, but hardly convincing.
Now airbrushed photos are the norm, not only for movie stars, but also even for family photos. Want to take off ten pounds? Done. Want to get rid of that zit. Zapped. You get the picture. Now almost any amateur digital artist can cook up or alter images in an effort to go viral with their creation. A convincing or shocking photo may get millions of hits, some people immediately being sucked in and forwarding the photo as a shocking truth while others see through the electronic veneer of paint brushes and erasers.
Rarely does an enhanced photo reveal more than it conceals or elicit such an outpouring of emotion as an Ohio father’s plea to have members of the Reddit online community help remove the tubes from his daughter Sophia’s picture.
She had never been without tubes.
And her parents would never have a memory of her without them. Sophia lost her battle to cancer on July 10. She was still an infant. Every memory, every photo they had of her included tubes in her mouth and hands, with a special brace that wrapped from cheek to cheek, like a football helmet mask, to keep the tube from being pushed out of her tiny mouth.
Those tubes kept Sophia alive, but they weren’t a natural part of her. Instead, they partially concealed her.
Thanks to the Reddit social community, technology, much like the tubes that allowed Sophia to breathe during her brief moments on earth, brought the real her to life in an astonishing way. Like a photo that stops you in your tracks, the photo of Sophia lying contented without tubes took my breath away. And moistened my eyes.
Now her parents are able to create a memory of their precious daughter and her true beauty fully revealed.
People who never knew Sophia or her family gave a gift to them. Some sketching pictures, others editing, and still others just pouring out their soul to the grieving family. They helped a dad and family re-write a page in an otherwise painful chapter of life.
Want to give a gift today? Reveal yourself. Open yourself up to another. Fight the urge to conceal. You may pave the way for them to do the same to you. In that moment something tremendously powerful happens. You begin to use brush strokes that reveal the true beauty hidden on a human canvas.