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Nation of narcissists

Pass the airbrush: digital 'cosmetic surgery' offers total image control

Despite the fact that we in the UK hate having our picture taken, the digital camera market is growing fast and looks set to do so for sometime, according to research released by digicam maker HP.

The company's research found that 40 percent of respondents already owned a digital camera and a further 40 percent were intending to buy one very soon.

But a massive 72 percent of women admitted to hating every picture of themselves and 18 percent said they would happily submit to 'digital' cosmetic surgery, perhaps shedding light on why digital cameras are becoming so popular.

"You can easily get rid of red-eye, smooth wrinkles and blemishes and even make rainy sky look blue. It's the kind of image control previously the reserve of top Hollywood stars," said Tim Potter, HP's digital imaging expert.

Research released by multimedia company Dazzle, showed a similar feeling among its respondents, with 60 percent saying they dreaded seeing themselves on home footage.

But why do we all hate our photos? Are we a nation of narcissists? Well according to psychologist Dr David Lewis, author of Loving and Loathing, the Enigma of Personal Attraction, it's because we all have an idea how we think we look which often does not match up to our actual appearance.

"Our degree of liking or disliking our snaps of ourselves depends on how closely they match not our real but our ideal self," said Lewis. "And a photo which, through careful lighting and camera angle makes you appear closer to our ideal self will be treasured and preserved."

Over half (52 percent) of respondents said they were willing to bend the truth a little by digitally removing blemishes and 18 percent were prepared to go to any length to improve their images.

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