A catching observation by my friend studying abroad in Korea this year.
Last semester when I had to get an alien registration card I also had to get a passport sized photo for the application. So I went to the photo store on campus and for 15,000
won I got 6 photos which took around an hour or so.
It wasn’t until I returned to pick up my photo that I notice that the photographer was busy Photoshop-ing people. It seems that this is quite normal as all the photo stores I’ve seen in Seoul had banners up with before and after photos of women. Some of these women didn’t even look like themselves.
I was so confused because if you send in an application with a photo that doesn’t really look like you, then how is it a proper form of identification? Because birthmarks and jaw lines have been erased or slimmed, eyes get bigger, no acne or blemishes, and lighter skin.
It just didn’t make sense to me that these photographers Photoshop everything to the point where it doesn’t look like the person anymore. I understand that some people want to look better or prettier but for official documents, I guess looking better might get you hired but the authenticity is off.
And as common as there are photo stores in Seoul, there’s a whole bunch of advertising about plastic surgery everywhere. On the subway, newspapers, tv, everything. Plastic surgery seems to be quite common here with nose jobs, double eye lids, jaw line re-shaping, botox, and so on. I hear that many Korean celebrities have had surgery and that it’s quite common and yet it’s always a bit controversial. I hear some mothers give double eye lid surgery as a present for their daughter.
It’s just interesting and sad to see all of this because surely it affects young girls in Korea in a negative way. But it’s Korean culture, I guess. Then again, there’s always pressure for young women everywhere. It was just a bit surprising to see how openly advertised plastic surgery and Photoshop are in Korea.