A New Kind of Beauty. Phillip Toledano (UK).
Published by Dewi Lewis Publishing. First edition, 2011.
A New Kind of Beauty from Mr. Toledano with an essay by Mr. Hunt. The beauty and its (re)construction in contemporary society with the means of new technologies is in heart of this book. What effect does it have on us? Phillip Toledano’s statement, in white on gold, opens the book: “I believe we are at the vanguard of a period of human-induced evolution. A turning point in history where we are beginning to define not only our own concept of beauty, but of physicality itself”. In search of a perfect body all of the models undergone different types of plastic surgery: from eyelid lifting and hormone treatments to body reshaping. Disturbing beauty. Fred, Tee-see, Sonia, Tiana, Gina, Louis… They are looking straight at us. After several body reengineering acts, all of them starting to mirror each other. Toledano’s lens brings up models’ pores, veins, skin texture and imperfection.
Straightforward semi-nude portraits shot against black background: very theatrical, resembling classical sculptures and paintings. Phillip Toledano is a talented smart and sensitive photographer: we can argue about beauty, but these photographs are stunning and powerful. As W.M. Hunt points out in his brilliant concluding essay “the work is neither judgmental nor objective. It is uniquely personal. … It is respectful”. A New Kind of Beauty is a beautifully produced book with a simple yet elegant design.
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