Woman’s Face Photoshopped In 27 Countries To Compare Beauty Standards In Different Parts Of The World

Left: Original portait; Right: Morocco

Left: Original portait; Right: Morocco

Argentina

Argentina

Serbia

Serbia

U.S.A.

U.S.A.

We’ve all seen the “Before and After Photoshop” versions of photographs, displaying the ways in which various media distort our perception of ideal beauty. But what would these images look like in other countries? With her series Before & After, Esther Honig, a radio journalist based out of Kansas City, asked just that. With the help of Fiverr, a website for freelancers, she got in touch with artists from forty different countries; emailing each a self-portrait, she wrote, “Hi, my name is Esther Honig. Make me look beautiful.” When they did not understand the assignment, she simply told them to make her look like the most popular fashion models.

When artists from twenty-seven countries replied, she was astonished with the results. Some edits were so dramatic that she yelped aloud; others, like the image from Morocco, in which she was given a hijab, stole her breath. Some cultures favor a bare face where others apply makeup. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the work is the overwhelming presence of Western feminine ideals: pale white skin, pink cheeks, a dainty nose, and wide eyes contoured with trimmed brows.

In the end, the series expresses the extend to which often oppressive beauty ideals are meaningless; where a woman is declared beautiful in one culture, she might be plain in another. Yet for all women, regardless of ethnicity and background, the pressure to be beautiful remains, propagated by the whims of the contemporary media. Writes Honig, “Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more illusive.” (via Buzzfeed)
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Collection Of Haunting Vintage Halloween Photos From 1875–1955 Will Give You The Chills

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Ossian Brown is an English artist and musician whose book “Haunted Air” gives us a rare glimpse at the vintage celebration of Halloween in America, c. 1875-1955. Anonymous photographs collected from family albums depict the traditional macabre costumes from ages past.

“I find their haunting melancholy completely absorbing; all of these photographs <…> now torn out, disembodied and forgotten <…> they’ve now become fully and utterly the masks and phantoms they dragged up as, all those years ago.”

Compared to today’s flashy, pop-culture inspired Halloween costumes, these get ups of are capable of giving viewer the chills. Black and white photographs feature children and adults dressed with strange DIY masks and robes. Popular motifs contain disguising as devils, witches or animals.

According to Brown, he was fascinated by the wild imagination of these people who at the time were living in great poverty but still managed to create “these incredible and phantasmagorical apparitions”. From whatever inanimate objects, they would construct truly haunting costumes and kept with the essence of tradition which is overlooked nowadays.

To give the book even more mystery, the foreword was written by David Lynch. A short excerpt presented here:

“All the clocks had stopped. A void out of time. And here they are – looking out and holding themselves still – holding still at that point where two worlds join – the familiar – ant the other.”

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This Kerouac-Inspired Journey Through Lost America Will Make You Want To Hit the Road

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Dreamcatchers, cowboy hats, flannel shirts and nostalgia are all present in Theo Gosselin’s vagabondish journey through forgotten and mystical America. In 2012, this young photographer took a road trip from Harlem to Venice beach and truly captured the essence of free spirits running wild.

“My favorite subjects are the uninhibited young people who are my friends, photos taken from the inside, in the privacy of our travels together, our adventures, our evolution in this strange world. Love, friendships, and our appropriation of nature and the urban world. Young, free and immortal.”

Gosselin started his journey with two friends and used social networks to meet new people and find places to stay. According to him, it was an incredible experience on a human level as he got to meet very different people: from students to squatters and hippies.

Because of his untamable energy and carefree attitude which he brings to his work, Gosselin quickly became a true hit on Facebook with more than 80k followers. In the times of posing and retouching, Theo Gosselin’s photos stand out due to their purity, sincerity and capability to take viewers on board.

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Purity Portraits: Young Virgins Promise Their Purity To Their Fathers Until Marriage

Young Virgins Young Virgins Young Virgins

Stockholm-based photographer David Magnusson captures bizarre father-dauther portraits in the U.S. These portraits are inspired by a very disturbing ritual called Purity Balls, a relatively new Christian religious, wedding-like ceremony that inspires American virgin girls (as young as four years of age ) to promise purity to their fathers.

The formal events tends to include ballroom dancing, a keynote speaker, and a lot young girls in white dresses. During the ceremony, the fathers, the so-called “High Priest of the home and family,” make a pledge to protect their daughters’ “purity” during the affair; often times they exchange purity rings.

“You are married to the Lord and your father is your boyfriend.” – A father says to his daughter during a Purity ball.

Intrigued and fascinated  by an article about the topic, Magnusson took the iniciative to investigate these balls, and its participants, further.To create this photographic series, the artist spent five months traveling to and attending purity balls in Louisiana, Texas, Colorado, and Arizona. On each occasion, he spent about an hour interviewing and photographing the father-daughter pair. The interactions between father and daughter on camera were up to the subjects themselves and not at all directed by Magnusson.

Many of us would think that the photographs look and feel odd; and not that there is anything weird about hugging and holding your father’s hands, but the way in which these pairs interact…most of us can agree that it is a bit creepy. The artist, however, keeps his judgement out of the picture and he tells his audience that for the most part the fathers are caring and respectful, and the daughter possess their own character and are often very independent. How true this is to each of us personally differs, of course. This very point, the idea of relative truths and opinion, is what Magnusson is most interested in:

“The purpose hasn’t been either to belittle or glorify the ceremonies–the interpretation [of the photographs] is all up to the eye of the viewer.”

The series of photographs are now part of Purity, a book of text and images put together by the artist himself. Purity comes out in August, and you can order it here. If you are interested in learning more about this ceremony you can check out The Virgin Daughters, a documentary that further examines the nature of Purity Balls. (via FastCo Design)

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Grotesque Paintings Of Toddlers And Tiaras Are Both Alluring And Revolting

Toddlers And Tiaras

Toddlers And Tiaras

Toddlers And Tiaras

Toddlers And Tiaras

In “Honey Boo Boo’’s Amurrican Starquest” and “Beautimous,” the painter Ingrid V. Wells creates saturated candy-colored portraits of the young stars of TLC’s reality television series Toddlers And Tiaras and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. The hit show follows the world of child beauty pageants, filming in homes and hotel ballrooms across the country; Wells’s paintings remove these made-up living dolls from this context, hurling them into an unsettling space where dreams and nightmares collide.

In many ways, the work is fantastical and wondrous; painted in watercolors and “girly-girl” tones, the figures are as fanciful as pages of a picture book. In the world of pageantry, the toddlers are shown as princesses, gifted with an endless supply of jewels, unicorns, sunny days, and balloon animal pinkness. The sit enthroned and proud, hoisted to the highest heights by fame and fortune.

Upon closer inspection, though, the pageant girls are seen through a lens of despair and disgust. Their saccharine smiles melt under the sweaty pressure of thick paint, mascara and lipstick desperately oozing from their pores. Wells transforms the medium of watercolor, using the normally delicate, ethereal paint in heavy, unappealing globs. The unicorn is revealed to be a pig, an animal symbolic of excess; her gleaming, swollen utters hang, and she, like the girls who awkwardly bear their midsections, is suddenly cast in a profoundly uncomfortable sexual light.

Here, prettinesss becomes both revolting and dangerous; beneath their bedazzled cupcake dresses, the girls are defeated, their eyes cast down in sorrow, still tragically yearning for a judge’s approval. (via BUST and Huff Post)
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Minimalist Prints Of State Insignia – Strange And Otherwise

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Julian Montague design1

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Perhaps you may be familiar with your state motto or state bird.  However, what about your state amphibian or state grain?  America’s fifty states have many official state insignia, some more obscure than others.  Artist and designer Julian Montague highlights many of these for all of the states in the union in his new series State of America.  While some state insignia may be predictable – Idaho’s official state food is the potato – others are bit stranger such as Georgia’s official state fossil: shark teeth.

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Mustafah Abdulaziz’ Photographs of America

Mustafah AbdulazizMemory Loss is a series of photographs captured throughout the United States.  His photographs vary widely in content from landscapes to individual portraits to candid groups.  They each in some way, though, seem to portray a disarmingly frank American identity.  Among other photographs in the series, Abdulaziz groups together an image of little girls returning from a princess tea party with a gathering of tribal elders on an Indian reservation.  Indeed, his statement explains that his work “explores social identification and how our ideas of self representation create instances of cultural disconnect.”  In 2010 Abdulaziz became the Wall Street Journal’s first contract photographer and in 2012 he was named one of PDN’s New and Emerging Artists to Watch.

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Ryuta Iida’s Paper Cut-Outs

 

 

Ryuta Iida is a Japanese artist who cuts out thick volumes of paper [i.e. magazines and books] to form sculptural objects. I had only seen this done once before by the artist Tim Hawkinson at his solo LACMA exhibit in 2005 and it has boggled me ever since. So, I was thrilled to find out about Ryuta, who is picking up where Hawkinson left off and doing it in their own way. Whereas instead of taking personal photos of themselves to cut into, Ryuta uses popular magazines, thus adding an element of pop culture to their practice. (via)

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