New Photo Exhibit Looks at Disturbing Quest for Beauty

by Valerie Martin

BodiesAlteredThe New York Times Lens blog (on Photography, Video & Visual Journalism) just posted an eye-opening piece, Bodies Altered in Pursuit of Beauty about photographer Zed Nelson‘s most recent exhibition, “Love Me.” As Nelson traveled the world taking photos, he was amazed at how all the faces he saw were beginning to blend together into one homogeneous standard of beauty — and not naturally. The post says of “Love Me”:

Playing on the conventions of commercial photography, Mr. Nelson has explored the reach of the global beauty industry in “Love Me,” an artful catalog of operations and other bodily transformations — some of them practically medieval — in 17 countries on five continents.

Nelson comments in the post,

The worldwide pursuit of body improvement has become like a new religion. I imagined the project in some way like a body of evidence, perhaps for a future generation, to see a point in history where the abnormal became normal, or at least normalized.

We found the exhibition mesmerizing and haunting. Where do we draw the line in our never-ending journey to fit into an unrealistic ideal of beauty and perfection?

Read more and view a slide show: NY Times Lens Blog