I’m sure my Asian readers will be more familiar with the sticker picture phenomenon that was so popular in the late 1990s to early 2000s. My friends and I always took sticker pictures when we got together, and traded them among ourselves like baseball cards. It was always fun to find a familiar face on someone’s sticker picture collection, to exclaim, “I didn’t know you know _____!”
I used to collect all my sticker pictures in my planner, which I personalized and made pretty with tons of stickers and colored pens (decorating planners was another trend back then). Here’s just one page out of the dozens I had in my planner:
Slowly, the sticker picture fad died out and was soon replaced with purikura, or photo booths which went a step further by washing out the colors in the photographs to make the skin look smoother and lighter. I knew that these “Photo Clubs” existed all over Asia; however, I was surprised to read the latest trend in photo booth pictures: eye enlargement software. Take a look at these “before” and “after” shots:
Examining these photos even further, it seems that the software also slims your face (a trend that is very much desired in Asia) and perhaps trims your jawline.
Recently, a Japanese television show decided to run a picture of the Mona Lisa was run through the software and got the following result:
When shown a picture of the original Mona Lisa alongside the new, purikura version, most Japanese women tended to favor the sticker picture version.
I’m curious as to how I would turn out using these new generation of photo booth machines. However, this would be purely for fun as the changes that are produced are a bit too drastic for my tastes.
As for the experiment being conducted on such an iconic image, a priceless piece of art? And to have the majority of pollers prefer the new version? The word “travesty” doesn’t seem fitting enough. (But then again, this classical art aficionado is biased.)
P.S. — As Kotaku points out, I want to make it a point to say that skin-whitening and larger eyes are not evidence of Asians attempting to look more Caucasian. These features have been desired in Asia long before contact with Westerners.