Graphic designer James Fridman has made a name for himself on the internet by taking Photoshop requests quite literally. This is something many graphic designers are tempted to do when friends, family, and coworkers ask them for little favors. But then a teacher inspired Fridman to swap snark for heartwarming sincerity.
“I taught my class a lesson recently about how some images in the media have been digitally altered and we discussed how these images can then have a negative impact on how people feel about themselves,” began an email from “Miss Leaver” that Fridman posted to his site and social media.
Leaver told him that she had showed her class his work, which taken as a whole skewers people’s desire to share more “perfect” images of themselves with the world. When someone asks for cosmetic improvements — such as longer legs, a shapelier butt, or a few inches of height — he gives them silly exaggerations.
Leaver’s students wanted him to do the same for her.
“So if you have the chance, as requested by my class, please could you alter the attached image of myself and turn me into a ‘super cool teacher!?'” she asked.
Fridman’s response could have been to put her in a frosty climate or some kind of superhero costume. Instead, he sent her photo back unchanged and posted a note to her that read, “The fact that you help children to consume media mindfully and selectively, makes you a ‘super cool’ teacher already.”
Fridman’s fans have gone crazy over this, retweeting the post almost 9,000 times and giving it more than 48,000 likes. The same post has 163,000 likes on Instagram and 17,000 on Facebook. As much as people like to see vain selfie-takers get their comeuppances, it seems they also have hearts too.
“James, sometimes you just make my entire day better!! Thank you!!” wrote @OfficiallyPatty.
“You’re amazing. And she certainly is too,” added Denis Q.S.
There were a few who had to poke fun at the fact that Fridman’s sweet reply was also, well, rather easy for him.
“trolled the whole class of children who waited for some funny pics of their teacher,” @Tse_Nicchny_bndr wrote.
A few others thought ahead to what this would mean for Leaver’s lesson plan. “I mean that’s a nice compliment, but what is she going to tell her class?” Leo Amadea asked on Facebook. ” ‘Sorry guys, I tried, but James thinks I’m too cool to alter.’ ”
In case she really needs some photos to show them, some other commenters helped her out.
This isn’t the first time Fridman has gone the slightly serious route with his work. He partnered with the anti-smoking campaign Truth in 2016, altering submitted photos to show what nonsmokers could do with the reported 20 percent more money they earn than smokers. For a woman who said she’s struggling with an eating disorder, he also changed nothing in her photo and wrote in a post that has since been taken down: “Nothing and no one could ever make you prettier than you already are. Don’t be influenced by the wrong standards. Don’t put looks before your health. Get well.”
Something about seeing those words from the same guy who does this makes them all the more meaningful.
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