A woman's side-by-side images show the reality behind the 'perfect' Instagram photo
- A 23-year-old woman named Sara Puhto has been posting "Instagram versus Reality" photos since 2016.
- Puhto aims to expose the way certain poses can make people look different on Instagram.
- "I think being more transparent about falsities in photos helps you realize that the people in these seemingly 'perfect' posts don't look like that all of the time," Puhto told Insider.
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Sara Puhto, 23, posts "Instagram versus Reality" photos of herself on her social media.
She started posting photos of her workout routines and fitness progress in 2015.
"I was posting fitness photos only, which consisted of me flexing my muscles and were all taken from my best angles," she told Insider.
But she decided to switch things up when she noticed that fitness influencers only focused on working out in their posts.
"It made me feel insecure and bad about my body because I was comparing my body to theirs," Puhto said of people she saw on social media.
"I realized that the photos that I was posting may have been making other people feel like this," she said, adding that she was flexing in all of the photos and each one was taken from the best angle, and in the best lighting.
"I noticed that my body didn't look like this 24/7, and decided to share my thoughts and what I really looked like most of the time," Puhto said of her posts.
"I started posting more body-positive photos in October of 2016, and have been doing so consistently since then," she said.
"It has helped me realize that many of us pose in certain ways to make ourselves look better in photos," Puhto added.
"When you suck in your tummy, flex, stand up straight, and pop out your booty, you look different in photos," she said of common poses she sees on Instagram.
Puhto pointed out that nobody actually stands like this in real life, so it's not "an accurate representation of how someone looks."
"I always used to compare my body to people on Instagram, which made me feel like my body wasn't good enough," Puhto said.
"I always thought I wasn't working out enough or eating well enough," she said.
"I was blindsided by the fact that everyone's bodies look different," Puhto added. "It felt like only a small variety of different body types were being glorified and posted on social media."
Puhto thinks part of the problem is that one type of body is praised as the best on social media.
She said that "we sometimes forget simple things like bloating and tummy fat are completely normal things to have" because we're so used to seeing "seemingly 'perfect' bodies, and highlights of people's lives on social media."
Puhto thinks the images we see online are becoming more damaging because of the pervasiveness of social media in our society.
"Social media is becoming more and more difficult to avoid," Puhto said.
"It's difficult not to compare ourselves to photos we see on social media," she added, pointing to photo editing, posing, and lighting as tools that lead to the "unrealistic images" we are "constantly flooded with."
Puhto's followers have told her that her posts help them deal with their own insecurities.
"I think being more transparent about falsities in photos helps you realize that the people in these seemingly 'perfect' posts don't look like that all of the time," Puhto said of why people like her posts.
"It allows us to realize that this perfection we're chasing doesn't actually exist, and we should learn to start appreciating ourselves for how we are naturally."
"We see this false reality and try to obtain it, often forgetting that what we already have is amazing," Puhto said.
"These images are not a realistic depiction of bodies and the diversity of people in society," Puhto said. "We shouldn't feel the need to change in order to love ourselves."
You can follow Puhto on Instagram here.
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