The photographer Stephanie Diani, whose exquisite series on burlesque dancers captivated us last week, is also the force behind Tribe of Impossible Perfection, a body of work comprising a rich collection of photographs illustrating the personal and cultural significance of body image. For each portrait, she invited a sitter to divulge their thoughts on their own bodies, asking, “If you could change anything about yourself, what would it be?” As they dictated, a plastic surgeon etched pre-surgical lines on their skin in marker. 

 

Each image reads as an intimate confessional of its subject’s fears about their naked bodies, but in a larger sense, it provides an aesthetically stark and cutting portrait of how our culture treats the female form. Equated with some sort of tribal tattoo, the marks borne on the women's flesh operates as an expression of the deeper currents that permeate contemporary society. 

Despite the harsh lines, each representative of physical expectations placed on women, Diani’s female subjects emerge victorious, miraculously beautiful in spite of her worries and marks. In exploring their own nakedness and courageously confronting their fears, they might stretch their arms, meditatively close their eyes, or otherwise dance about under Diani’s powerful lights. What begins as a confrontation of sexist societal norms evolves into a subtly moving and empowering catalog of the female self. What do you think?

 

Thanks to Stephanie Diani

Tagged in: tribe of impossible perfection, stephanie diani, portraiture, plastic surgery, Photography, cosmetic, body positivity, body image, beauty standard   

The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.




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