Writer's Note: This post is a discussion of a particular photographic series's depiction of cosmetic surgery. It should by no means be taken as a judgement of the surgical process; women have diverse views on the subject. The images do not encompass the vast array of personal experiences and attitudes towards plastic surgery.
The photographer Ji Yeo’s website biography reads, “Ji Believes beauty is integral to human nature and people find beauty in the most difficult circumstances, during emotional chaos and disorder, within societal taboos and the breaking of such taboos and even in the face of death.” In her series The Beauty, Yeo explores the definitions of physical beauty imposed upon women and our bodies, capturing in the process moments of a more profound emotional chaos. In documenting women recovering from cosmetic surgeries in Seoul, South Korea, Yeo offers a nonjudgmental glimpse into how “‘[ideals] of beauty [are enforced].”
The work reveals the lengths to which many women are asked to go for physical perfection, highlighting the quiet moments before plastic surgery patients reenter society. Bodies are compressed in bandages; dried blood stains clothing. The heartrending series captures the female form without a trace of objectification; we aren't asked to stare or gawk at the grotesque nature of the surgeries but to empathize with the photographic subjects, who allow us to share in their quiet moments of vulnerability. While she tackles a subject considered by some to be taboo, Yeo expertly navigates the complex terrain; her subjects appear to reveal themselves without deliberate posing or artifice, resulting in nuanced and beautifully ambiguous portraits of pain, transformation, and desire.
Thanks to Beautiful/Decay
Images via Beautiful/Decay
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