For centuries, philosophers and artists have wasted a bunch of time trying to define what is beautiful. “Beauty is truth, and truth beauty,” John Keats wrote, though it’s intriguing to note this statement is in quotation marks, spoken seemingly by an urn, or a ventriloquist doing an urn voice. Also, beauty is not truth. We know that because of a really cool stunt performed by journalist Esther Honig (via Slate.) “Make me beautiful,” she told a bunch of Photoshop artists the world over. She gave them a picture of herself — Honig already is beautiful in her original picture, by Keats’s definition and mine — and she also gave them a sum of $30 or less, in return for their help. Photoshop meant they could make her into literally anything they considered beautiful, according to personal preference shaped by culture, etc. And then she shared the pictures on her Web site. All the photos are hers. Good news! Most changes they made are something you can do at home in less than 10 minutes given a standard set of Crayola markers.


(Esther Honig, Photoshopped by a Kenyan artist)

But some of the photos teach us lessons.

American artist:


(Esther Honig)

Lesson #1: Truth isn’t beauty. Freaky, uncanny valley and not quite human-looking are beauty.

Greek artist:


(Esther Honig)

Lesson #2: Replace your skin with something faker looking.

Filipino artist:


(Esther Honig)

Lesson #3: Stand in front of a party.

Serbian artist:


(Esther Honig)

Lesson #4: Chest tats. Just chest tats.

Indian artist:


(Esther Honig)

Lesson #5: Quit having so many bones.