Filtered beauty: social media's image manipulation and its effects on beauty perception

Sofia Ghezzo Leal

In the last decade, social media have spread an unrealistic representation of beauty that has been successful in developing a negative distortion of beauty perception in users. By imposing Western standardized beauty ideals that tend to homologate the concept of what is beautiful thanks to image manipulating technology, users face the risk of never being satisfied with their appearance. The project aims to offer a new visual interpretation of what can be considered beautiful. By using a combination of different mediums and techniques (both digital and analog), Sofia Ghezzo Leal's self-portrait series focusses on portraying and proposing a new beauty concept based on the use of distortion and self-expression. This personal interpretation of beauty is constantly evolving, it is fluid and free, it lives between the real and the intangible, between nature and technology, and can never be defined by any reductive dichotomy. It is emancipation from standardized beauty ideals.

Sofia Ghezzo Leal

I'm an Italian and Spanish artist based in Berlin. In the last year I've been working as a prop stylist and make-up artist for editorial projects and Instagram content creation. As an artist and designer, I am interested in working with the human body, shape, and form by using different materials and exploring with different art techniques and mediums.

Where do you see yourself in 20 years?

I see myself still exploring with the human shape in art. I think there are endless possible results and artworks that can be achieved through just focusing on skin textures, shape forms, and beauty.

What is a good design for you?

Good design has to be innovative and effective, while still being aesthetically pleasing. Only once the aesthetic, technical and formal principles have been obtained, a design can be considered good.

What was the most challenging experience during your studies?

Probably the Bachelor part. Unfortunately because of Covid-19, social distancing, lockdowns, the pressure of the BA exam, external work, and being far from home has proven to be very challenging for me.

Who or what inspires you?

My biggest inspirations for this project were several independent artists, performers, drag queens, and make-up artists whose work I’ve been following up close for years. Salvjiia, Juno Birch, Fecal Matter (fashion duo), Antrop0morph, Arca1000000, Isshehungry, for example, play around with their appearance and seek to represent and embody new futuristic and gender-neutral and fluid beauty.

How do you approach a new project?

I am usually very energized and excited about starting a new project. I immediately start brainstorming and sketching for ideas, it feels like it stimulates my brain to be creative.

What advice would you give to students who just started studying in your programme?

To just experiment and commit to as many different projects as possible. In order to have a critical eye and a good design/art vision, it is important to keep practicing and working. It is also crucial to leave space for creativity and experimentation, since it can often lead to great results.

Have you changed during your studies? How?

Yes, a lot. Looking back to my course of studies, I can really see how I grew both as a woman and as an artist. I became more aware of art and design and noticed a boost in productivity and creativity. I have learnt to work in artistic projects (both individual and collective) and this made me grow into a more professional creative individual over time.

Why did you choose to study in your programme?

I never studied design before, I didn't have a clear idea of what it was exactly at first, but I was very driven to learn more about it, and I felt it really fit to my interests. I was also attracted to the multiple ways design can be implemented today.

What are you not going to miss in your studies?

Maybe the online classes we did this last year, but other than that I will miss studying. It was one of the best periods of my life, I wish I had the chance to live the full experience.

How are you going to celebrate your graduation?

Since this year, it was not possible to celebrate it with my family, I'll be celebrating my graduation at home with my best friends.

Say hi!

3 comments in total

Daniella Boveland 2021-02-14 18:34:09

Beautiful work! Congrats ❤️

h 2021-02-12 21:12:18

this is amazing!

m 2021-02-12 21:02:59

cool results!

Michail Ioannidis