This experiment only further proves the truth behind the famous saying, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
Journalist, blogger and freelancing reporter for KCUR Esther Honig came up with the idea Before & After while working as the social media manager for a small startup. Honig's boss introduced her to the freelancing platform Fiverr, which "allowed me to contract nearly 40 individuals, from more than 25 countries such as Sri Lanka, Ukraine, The Philippines, and Kenya. Some are experts in their field, others are purely amateur," she wrote.
And that's when the lightbulb went off. "I decided to use this platform, and others like it, to conduct my very own international experiment. My objective since the beginning has been to examine how the standards of unobtainable beauty vary across cultures on a global level."
Honig would message various freelancers around the globe with the above image of her and the following request: "Hi my name is Esther Honig and I would like you to enhance this image using Photoshop. I trust you to take whatever steps you see necessary. Make me look beautiful."
What she found was pretty incredible. Every country's idea of what constitutes ideal beauty standards varied from the next. There were even differences within the same country! "Each photo editor draws from a palate of both their cultural influence and their personal aesthetic preferences. This is why two images from the same country may be nothing alike," she explained.
"Overall what I've learned from this project is this; Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more illusive."
Take a look at some of the photos from Honig's project: