Does spending time in the digital wasteland really impact our mental health? Some say nonsense, but a growing body of research says yes. Now, creative agency M&C Saatchi released an original creative project designed to shed light on the negative side of digital and social media.
“The ‘Visual Diet’ initiative is being led by Mimi Gray, Head of Visual Content at M&C Saatchi, in collaboration with Marine Tanguy of MTArt Agency, an agency for visual artists, and photographer Rankin, who believes that selfie culture is both monotonous and dangerous,” writes Alexandra Jardine in Ad Age.
“It includes art project such as ‘Selfie Harm,’ images from which are seen here, in which Rankin photographed 15 teenagers and then handed the images to them to edit, tweak and filter until they felt they were ‘social media ready,’” Jardine continues. “Displayed together, Rankin’s unretouched portraits show their true faces versus the heightened, smoothed, and dramatically changed versions.”
On the surface it might look like simply wanting to put your best face forward; Saatchi’s Justin Tindall thinks otherwise.
“What we eat affects our bodies, so we’re mindful of what we eat,” Tindall says. “What we see affects our minds, but we’re rarely mindful of what we look at. It’s time we balanced our visual diets.”
For young men and women still forming their sense of self, this kind of un-realism can’t be healthy. We appreciate Saatchi highlighting the enormous toll social media is taking on us, and encourage everyone to be more careful digital consumers.