Unique Ultraviolet Portraits Reveal Beauty within Flaws


Brooklyn-based photographer Cara Phillips developed this intriguing portrait project that uses ultraviolet light to reveal every tiny little imperfection across a person's face. To produce the black and white series, the artist set up on the streets of New York with a sign that said "Free Portraits." Any willing participants agreed to sit down right there and have their photo taken underneath a UV light.

Ultraviolet Beauties is a unique exploration that eliminates all of the retouching of a typical commercial portrait and exposes the more raw side of a person's face. Phillips refers to the series as "anti-portraits" and she explains, "The aim of a portrait, in commercial and vernacular photography, is primarily to hide flaws—to present a two-dimensional 'flawless' version of the person. Even before Photoshop, photographers would hand paint negatives to enhance or improve the subject's appearance. But [the function of these images] was to enhance and reveal flaws."

Inspired by medical photos from doctors' offices and medi-spa websites, Phillips invited her subjects to keep their eyes closed to create a sense of tension between what could be either a revealing or a restricting photograph. The subjects, with their eyes closed, become a vulnerable object and, as viewers, we become voyeurs who are peering in to a seemingly calm and intimate moment. It feels almost acceptable to critically examine every little pore and freckle and speck on each face without fearing the consequences of getting caught staring.











Cara Phillips's website
via [Faith is Torment]

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Tags: Cara Phillips, Ultraviolet Beauties, photo

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Comment by Andrew Beck on February 8, 2014 at 11:06am

very cool. would've been interesting to see side by side portraits with and without the UV light to highlight the differences between the subjects' normal and "imperfect" appearances.

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