Every morning I get up, look in the mirror and say “How the hell did you get to be so handsome?” Well, if I don’t think I’m good looking, then who the hell will? Not that many would ever agree with my unbiased assessment, but what do I care? I know at least with a face like mine I can scare the kids every Halloween with minimal effort.
According to a recent survey, it’s estimated women will spend an average of $300,000 on face products alone during their lifetime. Beauty may be skin deep and in the eye of the beholder but it’s also a very BIG business.
Our strange obsession with attaining some kind of artificial ideal of beauty is the focus of Latvian photographer Evija Laiviņa’s series of portraits Beauty Warriors. With each photograph, Laiviņa presents a portrait of a woman wearing some kind of bizarre beauty product which promises the wearer instant perfection. These gadgets were bought on eBay and range from lip-enhancers and nose straighteners, to devices for measuring just how out of whack our faces are. Which reminds me, I once interviewed a plastic surgeon in LA for a TV show, who offered to straighten my nose (broken in a barroom fight with a cop—long story) and remove the over-stuffed suitcases from under my eyes for some obscene amount of money. I kindly demurred—but in not so many words. He wasn’t too impressed with my reply.
Laiviņa took up photography in 2007. As soon as she got her hands on a camera, she knew this was the thing for her as a camera offered unlimited possibilities for creating art. In 2009, Laiviņa emigrated to Inverness, Scotland where she studied Contemporary Art Practice at the University of Highlands and Islands. She took an interest in identity, psychological problems, and human relationships. She also studied portraiture and staged photography. Which brings us back to Laiviņa’s critically-acclaimed series of portraits Beauty Warriors which questions our relationship with the beauty industry. As Laiviņa explains:
To be successful, you must be perfect and look perfect—these are our society’s rules, which we all follow without even realizing how ridiculous the standards are. We often forget about the importance of inner beauty.
The finished photographs go beyond being just amusing (or sad) to a point where we recognize the real beauty that’s in all of us. See more of Laiviņa’s work here.