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A New Kind Of Beauty
February 15, 2010 2:31 PM   Subscribe

"Is beauty informed by contemporary culture? By history? Or is it defined by the surgeon’s hand?" [Some links NSFW]
posted by william_boot (64 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
That was one of the creepiest things I've ever seen on the internet.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:35 PM on February 15, 2010


A new kind of beauty, or, when everyone started to look like a transvestite.
posted by dobie at 2:36 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


What in the hell
posted by jquinby at 2:38 PM on February 15, 2010


According to the pictures, the answer to your last question is. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
posted by Splunge at 2:42 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


This people look very scary.
posted by anniecat at 2:42 PM on February 15, 2010


On a more serious note, none of the above. Eye of the beholder and all that. I personally don't believe in beauty by consensus opinion.
posted by Splunge at 2:43 PM on February 15, 2010


Cat People?
posted by Joe Beese at 2:44 PM on February 15, 2010


I finally found the artist's statement
Perhaps we are creating a new kind of beauty. An amalgam of surgery, art, and popular culture? And if so, are the results the vanguard of human induced evolution?
So are these 'shopped? Or are we havin some lulz or creepification at the expense of people who've had plastic surgery? Or what?
posted by muddgirl at 2:47 PM on February 15, 2010


If I take this at face value I'm very disturbed by such an assertion. If I don't, do i have to accept that the artist exploiting the possibly real, possibly ill, but definitely creepy? Is it better if they're shopped? What's the difference, except expense and flesh? I'm not sure what's happening here.

This is good art.
posted by cmoj at 2:50 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Is beauty informed by contemporary culture? By history?

I think not having a face that looks like it has been cut up stitched up and then shrink wrapped would be a start.
posted by nola at 2:50 PM on February 15, 2010


They are not shopped. A few of these people are regulars in the various extreme plastic surgery documentaries, which makes me think they're getting what they're doing on a meta level -- that is, they're enjoying the process of the surgery and surrounding weirdness as well as the result.
posted by glider at 2:52 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's really no need to photoshop. This isn't much more daring than taking shots of Amanda Lepore and her friends.
posted by vacapinta at 2:52 PM on February 15, 2010


me: "Angelina Jolie looks like grapefruits and wax lips on a skeleton."

my friend: "Jealous?"

...

me: "yes."
posted by sexyrobot at 2:53 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like Michael York in this one.
posted by dng at 2:55 PM on February 15, 2010


For me there is an egalitarian appeal; not everyone can be born with a face that is not hideous, and accidents can happen that will render someone's face horrific, but this sort of not-quite-beautiful-but-not-grotesque can be made out of anyone's face.
posted by idiopath at 2:57 PM on February 15, 2010


Based on watching this "Inside Mr Toledanos Studio" video, which is also included at the bottom of A Gallery of Slightly Odd and Wonderful Photography from Mr Toledano (retrospective of previous projects and small article), my guess is that these are photos of real people who have had sometimes considerable work done. P

hilip Toledano seems to be simply a photographer who specializes in odd subjects, not the reason that these people look the way they do.
posted by dammitjim at 2:59 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


So then we (and by that I mean some commenters here, not the photographer) ARE just getting lulz and creepification at a particular subculture. Gotcha.
posted by muddgirl at 3:00 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


1. Perform a series of second rate plastic surgeries
2. Turban your uncanny-valley'd clients and paint them white
3. Post on website with art-ish layout
4. ???
5. Profit!!
posted by clarknova at 3:01 PM on February 15, 2010


It's a little confusing because there's all this talk about beauty, but it's superimposed with pictures of horribly disfigured people.
posted by mullingitover at 3:08 PM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is so obviously a reference to a painting who's provenance I can't remember. So in addition to the body modification taken beyond conventional aesthetics, there's the use of an historical beauty aesthetic (Italian Baroque? Caravaggio? - drapery, pallor, stark contrast between light and dark? Can someone with a better art education help me out?) as a framing device that contributes to the uncanny effect, since that aesthetic is largely out of favor now. Lots going on here, though I'm not sure if the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
posted by EvaDestruction at 3:10 PM on February 15, 2010


Goddamn splicers!
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:12 PM on February 15, 2010 [4 favorites]


So then we (and by that I mean some commenters here, not the photographer) ARE just getting lulz and creepification at a particular subculture. Gotcha.

And what is the photographer getting out of it? He's profiting from their obsession, is he not?
posted by misha at 3:15 PM on February 15, 2010


You're still an ugly nobody without the thirty-two marks of the mahāpurisa.
posted by Abiezer at 3:17 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


We're not profiting. We're just sort of being assholes. Might as well post a gallery of people with tattoos and talk about how disfigured and/or scary they are.
posted by muddgirl at 3:18 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's a curious consistency between all the faces, especially in the mouth/cheek area. Either the photographer chose them for that, or,if they are the work of the same surgeon, he has peculiar ideas about how people should look. If I went into a plastic surgeon's office and saw these, I'd look for someone else.

Beauty is a subtle thing, for example I know two sisters who have essentially the same features, if you look at them, you can easily see that they are sisters, but one is dishwater plain, and the other is stunningly beautiful, and it's just a matter of very slight differences in how their faces are put together.

I'm a little curious how far reconstruction can go. It seems to me that the bones can be altered only a little (but a little bit goes a long way in that area) and the overlying tissue also has limits to what can be done. I suspect there's an unpredictability on how well the reshaped tissue heals, too, so we see things like Michael Jackson trying over and over to get his nose to look the way he imagines he wants it, and he ends up with a rotting travesty that looks like something an untalented middle schooler would have sculpted in art class.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:21 PM on February 15, 2010


I wonder if a lot of people will look like this in the future. When I was a boy, all the Jewish girls in my synagogue all seemed to go in and get nose jobs in one year. And their new nose seemed about as unnatural as these people's whole faces. But that sort of rhinoplasty is now so common that I scarcely notice it, except to notice that there don't seem to be very many Jewish girls with Jewish noses anymore.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:26 PM on February 15, 2010


EvaDestruction,
I thought of a "The Death of Marat" /"Girl with a Pearl Earring" mashup when i saw that photo.
posted by The_Auditor at 3:29 PM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Cat Woman.
posted by Nelson at 3:31 PM on February 15, 2010


Perhaps we are creating a new kind of beauty. An amalgam of surgery, art, and popular culture? And if so, are the results the vanguard of human induced evolution?
Yes indeed, Mr. Lamarck.
posted by tmcw at 3:32 PM on February 15, 2010


tmcw: "Yes indeed, Mr. Lamarck."

If the ability to find something beautiful is genetic, then how exactly do we explain the evolution of taste? Genetic evolution is not the only kind.
posted by idiopath at 3:54 PM on February 15, 2010


Nightmare fuel, that. I'll never understand why people drive their expensive cars right through the guardrails, hurtling into the uncanny valley.

Especially the lips. Why? Why on God's earth does someone want an upper lip that is so freaking huge that it looks like a panther jumped on your face and snaggled your lip and then you had a giant prosthetic lip-thing attached and jesus you look like a duck
posted by Baby_Balrog at 3:56 PM on February 15, 2010


I'm sure twenty years from now people will look at what was considered "pretty" and laugh their heads off at it and the ridiculous excuses and contrived arguments used to justify it. I never really understood the concept of plastic surgery and botox -- people still look their age and look desperate, plastic surgery just makes them look harsher and different. You're not fooling anybody -- it's like using an air freshener to cover the smell of a rotting cadaver...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 3:59 PM on February 15, 2010


But that sort of rhinoplasty is now so common that I scarcely notice it, except to notice that there don't seem to be very many Jewish girls with Jewish noses anymore.

Huh? I know and/or am related to many Jewish girls, and am not aware, either visually or anecdotally, of any of them having had nose jobs. I could just be extremely gullible, but I don't think so. Maybe this is more common in specific subcultural milieus.
posted by threeants at 4:03 PM on February 15, 2010


You know my comment up thread was prejudiced, mean, and added nothing to the discussion. My apologies. Carry on.
posted by nola at 4:12 PM on February 15, 2010


I hope they feel beautiful because I'm completely creeped out.
posted by czechmate at 4:13 PM on February 15, 2010


I don't know if these were shopped or not. But these pictures are lit and edited to make people look more unnerving/uncanny then they would in a normal portrait.

I went through and tried to change the color/saturation/etc in one of the pictures to make it look more "normal" This was the result (NSFW. And I also did a little editing. My examples are shown next to the originals).

You can do a lot to make people have the reaction you want when you setup and take your pictures. The fact people look weird in these pictures doesn't mean they look weird in general.
posted by delmoi at 4:16 PM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


The_Auditor, "The Death of Marat" is close, but I'm just about certain I've seen almost the exact pose in that photograph in a painting. It reminded me of "Girl with a Pearl Earring", as well, which makes me wonder if I'm thinking of a minor Rembrandt painting? I just don't think of the Dutch masters as working in quite that cool a palette, though.
posted by EvaDestruction at 4:17 PM on February 15, 2010


delmoi: "You can do a lot to make people have the reaction you want when you setup and take your pictures."

Yeah, this guy seems to want to make all his subjects seem a bit alien.
posted by idiopath at 4:20 PM on February 15, 2010


Not that many of these people aren't weird looking in general.
posted by delmoi at 4:21 PM on February 15, 2010


Maybe this is more common in specific subcultural milieus.

St. Louis Park, circa early 80s.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:39 PM on February 15, 2010


Eva Destruction:

Perhaps this, also by Jacques-Louis David?
posted by Nomiconic at 4:40 PM on February 15, 2010


Great, another ElfQuest thread??
posted by hermitosis at 4:45 PM on February 15, 2010


Nomiconic: No, but that's lovely. I'm striking out on Google Images, too, and starting to wonder whether the image I'm thinking of isn't a portrait, but a detail from a larger painting.
posted by EvaDestruction at 4:50 PM on February 15, 2010


This is so obviously a reference to a painting who's provenance I can't remember.

I think it is the Death of Marat?
posted by hermitosis at 5:39 PM on February 15, 2010


Oh hey, look what happens when you skim. But I'm glad I saw the same thing as y'all.
posted by hermitosis at 5:40 PM on February 15, 2010


I don't have these reactions when playing video games, as far as I know. I may just be playing the wrong video games, though.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:02 PM on February 15, 2010


I will disagree with the consensus. Perhaps these people are not conventionally beautiful, but to look interesting is better than looking dull.
posted by SPrintF at 7:21 PM on February 15, 2010


I disagree with SprintF. Looking human is pretty snazzy. Other than that, I'm not overly concerned. These people look like photoshops for body-mod fetishes. On a gut level, I'd be much more likely to have an involuntary, yet fully negative reaction upon meeting one of them face to face.

I understand that plastic surgery can be a great boon to a large number of people. A friend in college underwent a procedure that literally changed her life. But extremes like this?
posted by Ghidorah at 7:39 PM on February 15, 2010


I will not be content until pre-natal gene therapy is available to sculpt our children without the use of a knife. Then we can talk about a new standard of beauty.
posted by mkhall at 7:50 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ghidorah - the point is that lots of people don't care about your opinion of their beauty.

I'd be much more likely to have an involuntary, yet fully negative reaction upon meeting one of them face to face

I bet you wouldn't even notice them if you passed them in the street in a major US city. And if you met them in person it would take you awhile to figure out what was "different" about them.
posted by muddgirl at 7:55 PM on February 15, 2010


So then we (and by that I mean some commenters here, not the photographer) ARE just getting lulz and creepification at a particular subculture. Gotcha.

Maybe so. And if so, I feel like crap for looking at the pictures and getting a strong feeling.

Or not.

Because if there is no "photoshopping" then there is:

Lighting that is that way for a reason

Makeup that is meant (as far as I can tell) there to make the people look very unusual.

And all of this is about a person who writes:

Perhaps we are creating a new kind of beauty. An amalgam of surgery, art, and popular culture? And if so, are the results the vanguard of human induced evolution?

Or perhaps we are a self serving individual who wants massive exposure for our oh so avant garde web site with pictures?

Or it's a bunch of bullshit?

Prove me wrong. But don't get pissy because creepy pictures look creepy.

And nipples. Lots of titties. Well done, artistic guy. You got our attention.
posted by Splunge at 8:06 PM on February 15, 2010


Splunge: "And nipples. Lots of titties"

Yeah, I liked that one too
.
posted by idiopath at 8:19 PM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


I disagree with SprintF. Looking human is pretty snazzy. Other than that, I'm not overly concerned. These people look like photoshops for body-mod fetishes. On a gut level, I'd be much more likely to have an involuntary, yet fully negative reaction upon meeting one of them face to face.

And I think that 1) You probably wouldn't even notice in real life because 2) The lighting in these pictures is setup to make them look eerie. I do think some of the guys look kind of strange, maybe they are transvestites or something.
posted by delmoi at 8:24 PM on February 15, 2010


Well, now that's two people telling me what I would and wouldn't notice. Good to know, or I wouldn't have figured it out myself.

There's no way I can point out being able to notice things that are 'off' in any way that won't sound like "I know far more about this than you can even imagine" so why bother, right?
posted by Ghidorah at 8:31 PM on February 15, 2010


There's no way I can point out being able to notice things that are 'off' in any way that won't sound like "I know far more about this than you can even imagine" so why bother, right?

Oh tell me about it honey!
posted by Splunge at 8:43 PM on February 15, 2010


These are fascinating, thanks. Boundary play is great, and gender is one of the most heavily patrolled boundaries, no?
posted by mediareport at 10:21 PM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


i love these pictures. they are fascinating. almost as fascinating as the grimacing disgust of internet 'nice guys' falling over themselves to growl how disgusted they are at either the bodies and faces of the subjects or the audacity of the photographer to portray them however it is that he did.

thanks for the post
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:29 PM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


pleasebephotoshoppedpleasebephotoshopped
posted by obiwanwasabi at 12:34 AM on February 16, 2010


HI I AM GOING TO GIVE YOU SOME SCARY LOOKING SHIT WITHOUT ANY EXPLANATION BECAUSE THIS IS MY PRETENTIOUS WAY OF STARTING A CONVERSATION OH LOOK AT ME I'M SO FUCKING PROFOUND
posted by Afroblanco at 1:20 AM on February 16, 2010 [2 favorites]


These could be portraits from The City; love 'em!

Also +1 to mediareport: boundary play is indeed great, and people's reactions to it are usually fascinating.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 6:06 AM on February 16, 2010


So wait, are those all dudes?
posted by mrzer0 at 7:32 AM on February 16, 2010


Previously. See also.
posted by xod at 7:55 AM on February 16, 2010


Those aren't dudes. They are Blood Elves. Women with men's bodies.
posted by Xoebe at 10:58 AM on February 16, 2010


I'm with Potomac Avenue, I was fascinated and intrigued by the photos as well. Looks like we're the only ones judging by the comments in the thread. I guess creepiness is in the eye of the beholder. What do I find creepy and unsettling? Adults that still wear Crocs.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:25 PM on February 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


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