Intimate Photographs Of Young Women Capture Private Beauty Routines

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In Rituals, the photographer Noorann Matties catalogs the strange, mystical moments between woman and mirror, capturing young ladies in private moments of self-preparation and styling. As her subjects stand barefaced before public and private mirrors, work in eyebrow pencil, lipgloss, and mascara, seemingly memorized by and in poignant discovery of their own features.

Shooting many of the women from behind so as to capture the self in dialogue her reflection, Matties seemingly preserves the innocence of the experience, allowing the girls to engage with themselves undisturbed and unaware of onlookers. These sacred rituals, haloed in early morning sunlight and fluorescent lightbulbs, celebrate the quiet moments before the start of the day. In the instant before her subjects present their faces to the public, Matties stops the clock, preserving the beautiful self-absorption afforded by secrecy.

The inconsistent, accidental lighting serves only to heighten the sensuality of individual skin and hair tones, textures, and shapes; a towel hangs, left over from the night before, and reflections distort serendipitously in still-wet shower doors, affording the photographs deeper psychological meanings.

The repetition of these rituals is expressed through careful self-examination and knowledge; these women have seemingly memorized the curves of their brows, the textures of their skin, the movement of hair moved effortlessly and invisibly into a bun. The poignancy of these photographs, then, lies in part in the efficiency of the grooming activities; to the voyeuristic viewer, these intimate seconds are precious; to the girls, they’re routine, automatic, forgotten until the next morning. Take a look at the series, originally published in Inconnu Magazine, below. (via BUST and Inconnu)

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Feminist Photographs Show The Dark Side Of Beauty

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In a startling critique of the ways in which images of women’s bodies are consumed, the artist Jessica Ledwich presents “The Fanciful, Monstrous Feminine,” a collection of surreal photographs documenting the psychological consequences of contemporary beauty standards and practices. For Ledwich, female sexuality is viewed as “threatening” and is therefore oppressed; here, she exaggerates the femme fatale image, showing her red-lipped, square-nailed protagonist engaging in violence with her own body.

The female form, shiny and lacquered, appears like a hybrid, part human and part domestic cyborg; her youthful flesh is overtaken by the mechanics of beauty. In one image, severed and still-wriggling fingers are replaced with tweezers, and in another, she uses a vacuum cleaner to suction fat from her thighs, injecting it into her lips.

Improvements to the home and domestic realm take a literal toll on the female body and self; after awkwardly sculpting a just-budding lemon tree, a matriarch forces her own natural body into an hourglass with restrictive garments. The monotony of the daily grooming routine turns brutal and dehumanizing, and with each ritual, our subject sacrifices a bit of her identity until, like slabs of lifeless meat, her limbs, brains, and heart are sold off at a butcher shop cleverly referred to as “Limbsons.”

Tied to this endless pursuit of female perfection is the idea of motherhood, presented without an ounce of warmth or sentimentality. A C-section yields only an endless stream of identical plastic dolls, each removed with the same sterile, unfeeling determination that we see with the surgical implantation of breasts. The mother, robbed of her sexuality, is shown inserting biohazards material into a cooked egg, an uncomfortable action we might presume to represent her own impregnation. This bleak, unromantic portrayal of female beauty and fertility serves to remind us of the physically and psychologically painful demands placed on modern women’s bodies, leaving viewers yearning for a more humane world. (via Lost at E Minor and Design Taxi)

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Cyril Crepin Poignant Photographs Of Facial Reconstruction Patients

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Photographer Cyril Crepin creates an extraordinary, poignant collection of photographs featuring portraits of facial reconstruction patients within the confines of the hospital in which they were operated on.

With the help of Professor Bernard Devauchelle, a leading surgeon at the hospital in which these individuals were in, Crepin photographs these subjects in order to celebrate, but most importantly, accentuate these individuals’ self-respect, playfulness and courage  regardless their ‘monstrous’ appearance after surgery.

 “They want to be recognized as human beings. Contrary to what people might say about this series, it’s not meant to be obscene or voyeuristic. Obscenity is to ignore their humanity and their extraordinary courage.”

Crepin’s work is emotionally intense and it is by no means easy to look at. It is sad to say, but many people will have a tough time looking at these just because of the deformities. This consequence is tough to acknowledge, but it is true. It is hard to admit that many of us will be disturbed and disgusted by the appearance of these people, but it is this sole purpose that, I think, runs Crepin’s artistic fuel throughout the creation of this series. The rawness of his subjects’ gaze and the fearless aura they portray is powerful and inspiring… their brilliance transcend the normative ideas about beauty. Their humble controbution to Crepin’s work teaches us that everyone, no matter what they went through or how they look like, deserves a little self-praise and respect.

(via frameweb)

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Phillip Toledano Photographs Of Extreme Plastic Surgery (NSFW)

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In Phillip Toledano’s new book, A New Kind of Beauty, you will find photographs of those whom have gone through extreme cosmetic surgery. The images are quite shocking, but there is also something quite unusual about them; you can see, through the sitters’ victorious stances, that they actually feel quite powerful and actually beautiful.

‘A New Kind of Beauty’ possesses an interesting aesthetic. The photographer decides to portray his subjects, not under a glamorous light, but instead in way which exudes an air of strength and power. Although the artist says that he is referencing 16th century artist Hans Holbein (which he is) I say that he is also reflecting an aesthetic that very clearly references that of Greek and Roman sculpture. I find it compelling that Toledano’s juxtaposes something so contemporary as cosmetic surgery, to something so dated. But, his line of thought makes sense.

We all know that the Greek and Romans were obsessed with beauty, perfection and youth. They found beauty in perfect young bodies, hence the many grand sculptures of young naked bodies (usually men). Their stance, for the most part, was stoic; emotion made the beauty fade away…their stance was always upright, a symbol of power and honor. Similarly, the photographer renders his sitters in poses that clearly show off their wannabe young bodies and faces (some are covered by draped robes and veils, yet another detail that references this particular stylistic period). They stand tall and emotionless, even if their highly transformed faces say otherwise. Their ‘beauty’ is fake, but it is theirs, and they are owning it.

In a way, Toledano is documenting contemporary human beauty as well as ‘admiring beauty’ in the same way the Greeks and Roman did in their time.

“We will be able to redefine what it means to look human, and I think these people are the vanguard of that type of evolution.”

However, it differs in that this kind of beauty is manufactured and maybe not so beautiful after all.  The photographer wants to make sure we realize that this is our society’s standards of beauty. Whether it is actually beautiful or not, real or not, well that’s not something to fret about. It is an obvious fact that the public is eager for perfection, youth, and hypersexualized physical attributes, so here’s the outcome of the pressures to be just that.

“I wanted to make beautiful and distinguished portraits of these people. … I wanted to represent a particular part of beauty from our time. It will be very interesting to see in a few years time how I compare physically to these projected images.”

The book A New Kind of Beauty is available for purchase. (via Fast Codesign)

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Takahiro Kimura’s Imperfect But Beautiful Faces

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Japanese artist and illustrator Takahiro Kimura believes that true beauty lies within imperfection. Through his collage work, Kimura tries to expose the vulnerable yet beautiful nature of the human spirit by creating distorted human faces. To achieve a ‘distorted’ aesthetic, the artist cuts and rearranges different images, which he creates, to form one.

Though I am quite interested in various aspects and contradictions which people have inside, I attempt not to think about them in the stage of creation. I’d rather devote my attention to  line and exquisite balance of form, mass, composition and color so that[..] the said factors can stand out.

Although his work is lively, there is still a visible hint of darkness that creates an interesting  paradox- there is, in fact, a great amount of imperfection within the obvious beauty of these human faces.

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May Sum’s Finely Detailed Sculptures Carved Into Lipstick

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Hong Kong artist May Sum sculpts figures out of lipstick. While she sculpts animals and other objects, most of her figures are modeled on influential women in a series titled “Woman Power.” Lipstick comes in various shades, packaging, and shapes, and Sum uses this variety to her advantage creating a series of finely detailed iconic busts. The medium used to sculpt these women is fitting as powerful women are often judged against cultural ideals of beauty and image.

Sum doesn’t just limit herself to iconic women as subjects for her sculptures. She also takes custom orders. If you send her a photograph of what you’d like sculpted, she’ll create a miniature lipstick sculpture in its likeness. (via design taxi)

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Classical Photographs of Contemporary “Beauty” (NSFW)

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In a classical compositional style, Photographer Phillip Toledano‘s series A New Kind of Beauty depicts subjects that have drastically augmented their bodies.  The photographs contrast classical ideas of beauty with the contemporary and nearly obsessive pursuit of it.  A fixation with beauty is ancient, but the images examine it in the light of modern body modification.  Toledano says of the series:

“I’m interested in what we define as beauty, when we choose to create it ourselves.  Beauty has always been a currency, and now that we finally have the technological means to mint our own, what choices do we make?”

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Danielle Duer’s Beautiful Oddities

I first encountered the work of Nashville-based painter and visual artist Danielle Duer at a local restaurant-slash-coffeeshop. The order line separating me from my hipster-approved gourmet grilled cheese — well, it was long, but I didn’t mind. All the while that we inched forward, salivating obscenely, my eyes were glued to the walls of the establishment, for it was there that a number of Duer’s creations hung. I may or may not have jostled a few fellow salivaters aside so as to get a clearer view of each piece, hanging there against haphazardly stuccoed walls beneath little strips of birch bark that simply read “Danielle Duer.” First thought: I want one.

Duer’s paintings and drawings couple dainty details with fanciful landscapes, all rendered in vivid color. Ships sail in from far off places and bears cavort on unicycles in imaginative scenes that would look right at home on book covers. As the artist once said, she learned as a child to create places, whether through writing, painting, or drawing, that were smothered with the most “delicious, bizarre scenery.” As her creations show, she is also well aware of the importance of “oddities and peculiarities” in making something beautiful.

Take a closer look at Danielle Duer’s beautiful somethings after the jump.

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