Mask of Perfection


A serious Leica collector I love forwarded an article from their blog that makes you think.  It features these beautiful black and white portraits of young gorgeous women with pre-operative marks on their faces before procedures they’ve undergone in the pursuit of “perfection.”  They are subjects of a photo exhibit Mask of Perfection by Marc Erwin Babej, with Maria M. LoTempio, MD.  From the Artist’s Statement:

Mask of Perfection focuses on the complex and ambivalent relationship between the beauty we perceive subjectively on the one hand, and the plastic surgeon’s scientific, geometry- based standard of beauty on the other. 

The currently emerging ideal of beauty is unprecedented in that it is actionable, and that conformity to it has become widely available. Lips like Angelina Jolie; breasts like Scarlett Johansson; a butt like Kim Kardashian; less slanted eyes like a white woman; a wrinkle-free complexion like a cosmetics model? Available at a plastic surgeon near you. In other words, the emerging beauty ideal not only reflects changing taste, but represents a radical shift in the understanding of beauty itself. Conformity to an ideal of beauty used to be a daydream; now, it has become a line item on a shopping list. Whether this development is liberating or cheapens the concept of human beauty (or both at the same time) is a matter of individual judgment.

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