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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Takahiro Kimura

Takahiro Kimura

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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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