TGIF (Thank God It’s Filtered)

Thank God for filters.

This was one of the those moments where a word that has multiple meanings can be used in several, relevant ways in the same situation.

As I get older, I find that I am often intentionally holding myself back from an immediate reaction.  An email can inspire a very strong feeling and reaction but I am thankful when I pause, calm down, and give myself a little time before I respond.  I let the comment, email, or message filter through my brain and heart for a bit before I reply.  This is a good thing.  Being a t-girl on social media opens me up to a lot of comments and criticism (and dick pics) so it’s important that I count to ten (or one hundred) before I respond, if I choose to at all.

I am also thankful my website will filter comments for approval before they are posted.  The spam filter is pretty good, but unfortunately a safe comment may be flagged and it may be a few days (or weeks, sorry) before I see that it needs to be approved.  There are comments from really mean people that will never see the light of day and I am grateful for that.

Finally, thank God for photo filters.  Not going to lie, sometimes a photo looks better with a little editing.  Usually it’s just a little lightening, though.  I used to feel conflicted when a photo was edited because I felt I wasn’t being honest, if you will.  But over time I have gotten more comfortable with them.  I mean, if a little retouching makes me feel beautiful, what’s the harm?

For example, the two pictures below are from the same day and of the same dress.



Beyond the shot and the pose, the difference between the two is that the first one was taken with an iPhone by a friend, the second was with a really fancy camera by a professional photographer.  The person taking the picture makes a difference, and the camera used has an impact on the quality of the photo.

But in addition to that, the second one was retouched, but by how much I am not sure.  As far as I know, Shannonlee pushed the button on her camera or computer that was labeled “MAGIC” and here we are.  I have seen her photos before and after her retouching and yes, there is a difference between the two.  But… that’s what I want.  Why else would I work with a professional photographer?

But I recognize that some may not like the filtering and may feel that it is… dishonest to post a retouched photo.  And that’s okay.  Many of us know the crushing feeling of looking in a mirror and not looking as cute as we’d hoped, and a little retouching can stave off dysphoria.

I received a comment yesterday in response to one of the girls featured in T-Girl Spotlight.  I featured two girls over the last few days and this drove traffic to some of the other girls I’ve written about.  Without getting into the specifics, the comment made me think about filtering and all the ways the word can be used.

First of all, I was grateful for the comment being filtered into a ‘pending approval folder’ so it didn’t post before I had a chance to approve it.  I approve almost every single comment, but I didn’t approve this one.  I can handle criticism, but this comment said some pretty hurtful things about the girl I was highlighting.  I look at the girls I feature as my guests in a way, and I do not want anyone to hurt my guests’ feelings.

Secondly, I was thankful for being able to control my first reaction, which was to approve the comment and… well, pick a fight, I suppose.   I am glad it didn’t escalate.  Instead of reacting, I went for a run and let my thoughts filter and process in my brain.  This helped me calm down and gave me a new perspective.

Finally, if someone uses a filter, who cares?  Who cares if a photo is retouched?  I know I tweak my photos, so it wouldn’t surprise me if someone else did.  I would be a hypocrite if I judged someone for doing something I do.

I don’t know why this person wrote a comment like this.  Perhaps the were having a bad day.  They may have had some valid points but there’s no excuse for the rudeness towards the featured girl.

Love, Hannah

4 thoughts on “TGIF (Thank God It’s Filtered)

  1. “…there’s no excuse for the rudeness…”

    Nothing nice to say? The STFU 😉

    Perhaps the poster was having a bad day or is suffering in someway, but how does being rude help? Sure, there’s a difference around feedback and being honest, but to get someone to listen, maybe a filter on how we’d like to told would help.

    PS: re Dick pics, are they of Nixon, Van Dyke, or Cheney? 😀


  2. I really do not see much of a difference between retouching a photo to make you look more like you want to look, and retouching your eyes (mascara, shadow), face (foundation, powder, blush), or hips and chest (pads). Or, to go a step further, all people retouch themselves: cut and perhaps style their hair, wear clothes that make them feel like themselves, and other similar actions. To me, it is all just leaves from the same tree.


  3. I totally agree Linda. There is no such thing as a completely natural photo – the lighting conditions and the technology make sure of that, often in a negative way for me 😩 – so all forms of enhancement are valid. Just another way of putting our best foot forward.


  4. I have incredibly mixed feelings about retouching photos (which has been done almost back to the beginnings of photography) ever since I saw what a friend could do in a very early version of Photoshop. Wow, was I impressed and yet simultaneously horrified. I could never truly take a photograph at face value ever again and my naiveté really was dealt a fatal blow…

    Yet again, I am torn by my dual-natured feelings in this and so many other things. I am Trans. I am also horrified by attempts to deceive with manipulated photographs and yet I attempt to deceive with makeup, smoke and mirrors – I manipulate my image in RL. I can argue that this is the real me displayed with no intent to deceive but ultimately, I am that which I despise, I have met the enemy and she is me…

    I have taken thousands of landscapes over the years (slides) but I have somewhat come to grips with the Dark Side by using a program to lighten/darken and color-balance photos to save them from being completely useless but I still have reservations in doing so. Ultimately, I will continue to have mixed feelings about this but I am OK with it as long as there is no criminal attempt to deceive. YMMV! 😉


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