20-year-old Spanish artist David Lopera has attracted the eyes of the internet with a long-running series of photoshopped celebrity pics.
But instead of slimming women down — as Photoshop is overwhelmingly used for — Lopera uses the software to make them look heavier.
Beyond serving as fodder for tabloids asking “Does Rita Ora look better bigger?” Lopera’s images have also sparked a conversation over whether they advance or undermine the body positivity movement.
Lopera’s first “makeover” image manipulated the album cover of Katy Perry’s 2008 opus “One of the Boys.”
The NY Daily News reports that the image quickly went viral after Lopera posted it on his deviantart page, where the rest of his art can still be found. Lopera, a computer engineer, has since been flooded with requests to give specific stars the treatment.
“Emma Watson, Jennifer Lawrence and Kim Kardashian are some of the most popular requests I get,” he told the Daily Mail.
In an email to Business Insider, Lopera wrote that about 5% of his work is done on commission.
But outside of his client-base, some have expressed disapproval of Lopera’s methods, if not of his goal to challenge beauty standards.
Over at feminist blog Bustle, Marie Southard Ospina opined that Lopera’s “chosen mode of delivering this representation is resulting in even more manipulation of women’s bodies.”
Ospina added that “with all the plus-size and fat positive bloggers, models and activists posting real imagery meant to beat stigmatization, it seems unnecessary and almost disrespectful to turn to the altering of female celebrities in order to prove a point about body positivity.”
Should Lopera’s intentions be taken into consideration when judging the value of his say in the conversation? The Daily Mail thought it worth mentioning that Lopera is in a relationship with a “plump” woman himself.
Some of his comments reflect a noble goal: he tells the Daily News that he hopes to “change people’s mind about beauty standards.”
At other times, it all seems a bit self-interested, as when he said he preferred Elsa, the main character from Frozen, “when she’s a fat princess – that’s a real woman right there.”
Either way, Lopera will likely continue in his work. He told the Daily News that he hopes to go full time with his Photoshopping.
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