in dealing with this aspect of the project, i wanted to get females to express their own concerns abour societal beauty, but also deal with their own sense of the physical form. i chose to deal with issues regarding cosmetic surgery, feeling that this brand of fashion has become as easy as changing our haircolor. with our obsessions with youth, beauty and sex appeal, cosmetic surgery is more popular than ever, creating a big business to re-construct what we see in the mirror.
in the next photos, i took an original photo of myself and manipulated them to give the looks of michael jackson, an oriental woman, a warped version of myself were i to have cosmetic surgery and lastly brittney spears.
if you look closely, you can see the remnants of my features, since i used all of them and just modified them to give the appearance of the character i was portraying. such as in michael jackson, it is very obvious that my eyes are indeed there, but the features have all been re-constructed to show that basic "photo-surgery" can make anyone look like anyone.
for the brittney spears piece, i wanted to not make her look so much like the songstress, but rather give her the version of brittney that i have seen develop; awkward teen developing into post-stardom woman. her features are in "stages" on her face, leaving the viewer with a rather twisted sense of the actual brittney's features.
in this project, the reality vs. fantasy is, of course, exaggerated completely. [perhaps taking some exception with michael jackson who has pushed the limits of plastic surgery] having been interested most of my life in being a fashion nightmare and becoming active in the community of body modification later on, i realized that this social phenomenon has literally changed the process of aging and the standards of beauty. comparing a woman in her 60's who has aged naturally to a woman in her 60's who has had massive reconstructive surgery to her eyes, neck, lips and cheeks is a pretty astounding social test. the comparisons of women and men with plastic surgery to other "unmodified" individuals not only changes our perceptions of aging and beauty, but also our socio-economic standards of living.
here we have people who can not only afford to drive an expensive car, but they can also buy a new nose and chin which makes them appear more beautiful inside that car. most of society doesn't have the expendable income to change their appearance on a yearly basis. so the beautiful become more beautiful, and the unchanged are left to feel that money can buy not only happiness, but also attractiveness.
i believe that the entertainment industry overall is corrupt with warped visions of beauty and thus, trickle down societal perceptions also become warped. in a business where the camera "always adds ten pounds" women are forced to be even thinner and men must add even more muscle. the equality of the entertainment industry is apparent in that men and women alike are forced to look fresh from the gym at all times. their are obviously exceptions, however they are insignificant in this fascist beauty conscious industry.
with as many facts as we have about thinner doesn't equal better and the on-set of anorexia and bulemia one would think that our body perceptions would have become more healthy by now. however, as of the year 2002, a large size model is still just a "glimpse" of the magazine world. overweight women actresses are but a blink on the screen and most often never taken more seriously than being the "token fat girl." we applaud ricki lake and carney wilson [the ex-fat chick in wilson-phillips] for losing weight and becoming smaller icons for america's young women. even if carney had to have a thousand staples running down the middle of her belly to achieve the nobility of becoming half her pre-surgery size, we are still happy for her. she will have a scar reminding her that she was a "fat girl" for the rest of her life, but she now has the facade of being thin which apparently is enough for her and society in general.
the surgical process has been glamorized to the point that young women and men have no idea what feeling beautiful from within the soul is all about. the old saying "beauty is on the inside" has long since been ambushed by the world saying "beauty may be on the inside, but who cares if you have white teeth and a tiny probiscus?"
in all of my work i use my own image to some degree. i like to change who i am just like anyone else, though i do it with make-up and color rather than scalpels and stitches. i have to ask if our obsession with changing our appearance isn't so much about looking or feeling better as it is about becoming someone, anyone, besides ourselves?