Tuesday, 26 December 2017

The Camera Never Lies

I bought a new phone a few weeks ago, for my business. Its main purpose will be to provide a work email terminal and a wireless hotspot, fitted as it is with a SIM carrying a generous data allowance.
It's a Chinese phone, not simply made there but from one of the well-known Chinese domestic brands, and it's a high quality piece of kit.

As you'd expect these days it's a reasonably vanilla Android, without the cumbersome overlays that dogged phones a few years ago. It has a decent enough camera, and it is this that has provided a surprise. It has a "Beauty" mode. For selfies, and it makes a few tweaks in its software. Evening out skin tones and blemishes, enlarging the eyes very slightly, placing a highlight in the hair, and reducing the chin a bit. It lies, in other words.

So I've been playing with it, and even though I know it's lying, it's a rather useful aid to someone with a nagging feeling that they still look, you know, a little bit blokey. It takes a decade or more from my age, and manages to make me look acceptably enough feminine in my presentation to warm the old cockles of the heart, or something. I know HRT has filled out my face and given me lips because I can see it when comparing with past photos, but as we all know, only we know what the bloke looked like in the mirror and we can all see him sometimes looking back at us.

We trans people have a complex relationship with our own image, and a lot of us never manage to quite come to terms with it. I've had friends who've opted for FFS when they looked fine and returned looking frightful, just to lose his shadow, but my reaction has never been that extreme. It is however nice to see something of the girl in the mirror without the aid of the phone, and then to barely see him at all in the beauty-mode-enhanced version. I am no looker and I am not fishing for compliments, this is merely to express my pleasure at reaching a milestone of the mind. If the camera is supposed to lie, then I'm happy to have found one that does.

8 comments:

  1. How many of us have seen the reflection in the mirror and felt the horror "knowing" that it will be impossible to make an acceptable woman from such rough stock material.

    Yet the only time I now see any trace of that old self is moments after hair has been washed at the hairdressers but minutes later joy returns when it is snipped and fluffed back to beauty.

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    1. It has been something of a surprise, to see it happen, 'tis true. :)

      I had very short hair back in the day, so fortunately I never get that moment.

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  2. You look just lovely in that picture, Jenny.

    Calie

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  3. Most of the time I just use the mirror to make sure everything is "straight" sometimes I am quite happy with what I see, but every now and then I only see a fat hairy bloke looking back at me.

    I think most of us have that problem, but that doesn't make it any easier to take when it happens, I'm just glad it seems to be happening a lot less often.

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    1. Happening less often, yes that sums it up nicely. Worth remembering, natal women are rarely content with their appearance.

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  4. I knew someone who hated her voice because it sounded like her pre-transition voice. It was also a very female voice in range and pitch, but it was the continuity that caused the discomfort. I try to reassure myself by remembering this...

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    1. It's sad when that happens isn't it. Perhaps I'm fortunate then to look and sound a bit rough. :)

      Funnily enough though after quite a while now I'm back in the system I've been seeing a voice therapist and have shocked her as someone with such a large chest cavity by managing to create a decent stab at a female voice. Got past the "sounds very camp" stage into the "keeps losing it" stage, but can keep it going with a bit of effort and am told it will eventually stick. Why, given that I wasn't particularly dysphoric about it? Social pressures I guess, part of maintaining a complex illusion. More than one friend is in stitches.

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