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Extraordinarily bad photo retouching goes viral

9Honey logo 9Honey 14/01/2018 Imogen Dewey

A woman shared her family photos on Facebook. And they've gone very viral because they're, well, very bad.

Pam Zaring wrote that the professionally taken photos had been returned to her with the explanation of 'retouching'. Which sounds harmless enough, except that the whole family's faces have been distorted beyond recognition.

"Ok. This is NOT a joke," Zaring wrote in the original post, which has so far been shared over 340,000 times and has more than 310,000 likes.

"We paid a photographer, who claimed to be a professional, $2-250 for a family photo shoot. Please see these FOR REAL photos she delivered to us....She said the shadows were really bad on the beautiful, clear, sunny day and that her professor never taught her to retouch photos."

But Zaring took the fact that she and her loved ones had been melted into terrifying Microsoft Paint zombies in good humour.

"I literally have not laughed this hard in YEARS!!!!!" she continued. "You can't make this stuff up."

("Again," she added for good measure, "this is NOT a joke.")

The photos deserve to be examined one by one. Because sometimes the internet delivers, and they are truly, madly and deeply glorious to see.

First, we have Pam, Dave and their two sons.

Pam, Dave and their two sons. © Facebook/Pam Dave Zaring Pam, Dave and their two sons.

For reference, this is what the Zarings look like when there are no 'bad shadows' that need to be retouched away.

Pam and Dave Zaring. © Facebook/Pam Dave Zaring Pam and Dave Zaring.

Here's Dave and another family member – presumably grandma, but honestly who can say.

Dave and another family member, presumably grandma. © Facebook/Pam Dave Zaring Dave and another family member, presumably grandma.

There's maybe-grandma and her maybe-grandkids.

Grandma and grandkids. © Facebook/Pam Dave Zaring Grandma and grandkids.

And maybe-grandma again, giving us a bit more time to wonder what she actually looks like behind her new 'shadows-free' mask.

© Facebook/Pam Dave Zaring

Here's the whole family (including the dogs, who have inexplicably been spared). The retouching seems to also have given them a bit of extra bench room, which is nice.

Pam and the whole family. © Facebook/Pam Dave Zaring Pam and the whole family.

In the photographer's defence, there are no shadows to be seen. Then again, there also aren't really any faces.

What the internet is now wondering, fairly enough, is if the 'Lesa Hall' credited in the watermarks above actually tried to make these into good photos. Or is actually real. Perhaps it's all a clever marketing tactic (to go viral, or, I don't know, bring back Microsoft Paint).

But 'IMagery by Lesa Hall' does have its own Facebook Page, full of equally subtle and intriguing work. (One of the services offered is portraits of 'live birthing of livestock'.) On it, Hall (or the person claiming to be Hall – who does also have a LinkedIn, which credits her cat as a wonderful model) responded to her accidental viral success.

"The pass is the pass," she wrote.

"I wasn’t as good as I am now but good thing is I’m learning and progress in and they had a good time. They paid me for my services AFTER I took their pics and edited the shadows. I have nothing but love for this family. Looking forward to more sessions with your family in the future."

And really, good for her.

Going by the comments on Hall's page, 'more sessions' are indeed on the way – it looks like she's now being flooded with requests for her custom skills.

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