Flawless Beauty?

Model-330pxThey smile at you from the racks in every newsstand – cover girls. Beautiful, flawless, ideal. But have you ever seen, how these cover pictures are created? Taking the photo – i.e. the actual photo shooting with posing, getting the light and settings right, etc. -, is only a small part of the later cover picture. The real work starts at the computer. Here, the model gets her flawless skin, her ideal measurements, even her beautiful hair. Some wrinkles and skin blemishes, the make-up artist didn’t manage to cover completely? Arms, hips, and thighs too thick? All this is not a problem for a photoshop expert. The result is a picture, close to the (alleged) ideal of the beauty industry, but far away from reality. And we got used to this kind of “illusion”, we don’t even question it anymore, we take it as “norm”.
Now, what has this to do with Arabian horses? Unfortunately, quite a lot, because the moment we stopped breeding functional horses and started to create beauties, the moment we stopped looking at shows as a platform to compare breeding stock but changed them into beauty contests, and the moment we stopped selecting horses for breeding that we have seen in the flesh, but started to rely on brightened images – we have subjected ourselves to this beauty dictation.
Some breeders explained to me, that “improving” their horse photos, even to the extend of altering a horse’s conformation and shape (head!) is the same as what professionals in fashion photography are doing. They regard it as totally normal, because they are just making a beautiful individual even more beautiful, flawless, ideal! Yes, but there is one big difference: The cover girls of a fashion magazine only sell fashion, not themselves and especially not their genetics. But most of the artificially altered photos of Arabian horses imply that “what you see is what you get”, which is not the case. Quite the opposite – these altered photos are fraud!
Even if one is conscious about the fact that in “real life” the cover girl doesn’t look the same as on the cover of a fashion magazine, her idealised picture is changing our perception and our expectations, of how a beautiful woman should look like. And it is no different with horse photos. If you go to social platforms, you see the results of this altered perception in the Arabian horse world, too: photos of heads, especially foals, that are “photoshopped” to an extend, that they become “caricatures” of the breed. But these photos get many “likes” and comments such as “oh wow, how beautiful!”. This shows me, that too many people have already internalised this artificial beauty ideal. Even worse – they try to reach this artificial beauty in their real life breeding programmes, although there is not a single breed standard, which would demand it.
Every now and then, we have to “re-adjust” the image of an Arabian horse in our heads, to get away from this flawless, artificial, and “extreme” image of beauty, that does not exist in reality. The real Arabian horse is of timeless beauty. The photos in our magazine and our website will help you, to value this – and of course, our photos are “conformation unaltered”!
Gudrun Waiditschka