Have you ever wondered, “What does Instagram & PicMonkey say about our culture?”
Ha, who am I kidding? I just happen to be a geek who cares about these things.
But really, we didn’t used to have photo editing software that made us look pristine every time. Man, we didn’t even have color photos at one point, and we didn’t even have photos at all way back in history. (I know; scary thought. All they had back then was memories of people in their true, undeniably ugly selves. -collective gasp-)
I’ve been studying art history the past couple of weeks since school started, and one thing that has really stood out is that by looking at a culture’s art, we can learn a lot about that culture. As much as some would argue, I believe photography (and yes, even the stereotypical teenage-girl edited photo with hearts and sparkles all over the picture) is part of the art of our culture. What does that say about us?
Our popular photo-editing apps tell us that we are obsessed with our appearance.
And what does the Bible say about that, you ask?
James 1:23 – “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror.” (NIV)
Now, you have to keep in mind that they did not have cameras back then, so they were not able to take the sickening amount of “selfies” that our population currently takes. To me, “a man who looks at his face in a mirror” is pretty synonymous with an obsessed selfi-editor.
Our culture is also defined by an obsession with the perfect appearance, nearly sucking all originality out of everything.
Matthew 23:28 – “In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous, but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” (NIV)
Basically what this verse is saying is that even though you may have the most perfect appearance outwardly, you are probably full of trash on the inside.
Society is supposed to be the stage for creative new ideas, and people being able to experiment with art. Mistakes make memories, and mistakes can make beautiful art. Now all that all creativity can just be photoshopped out.
“And he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze,-Exodus 35:31-32” (ESV)
To understand this verse, you need to know the context. God had appointed Bezalel, son of Uri, to a life of artistic pursuits for the glory of God. Not only does God encourage him to be creative, but he gives him the gift of art and helps him use his gifts to the glory of Himself.
This one isn’t directly related to photo-editing apps, but more to the digital revolution as a whole. Have you ever wanted to -right click, undo- something you’ve done before? I know I have. It makes me wonder how profitable it is for kids to grow up thinking they can just -ctrl,shift,delete- something that doesn’t reflect a perfect appearance.
Thanks for taking a walk in the park of my awkward ramblings,