Two of Cara Phillip‘s pieces from her series Ultraviolet Beauties can be seen alongside their contact sheets in PROOF. Cara shared with us a statement about the work and a few process shots from Union Square.
“My first body of work was a personal exploration of the psychological experience of the cosmetic surgeon’s office. While researching that project, I came across ultraviolet photography, used by many medi-spas and dermatologists to show patients their ‘future’ skin. Despite the fact that there is no guarantee that this unseen damage will ever appear, beauty professionals and doctors still use these images to sell cosmetic treatments to their clients and patients.
Utilizing the same UV technology, but with B&W large format film, I set up my studio on the streets of New York City. The idea was to offer any pedestrian willing to sit for me in public, an expensive, rarified, beauty treatment. The results were surprising—however not so much for what they revealed about the subject’s skin damage—but for the questions they raised about the revelatory expectation of the contemporary photographic portrait, and about the aesthetic beauty of imagery. By closing their eyes the subjects were able to restrict what how much they revealed to my camera, while at the same time allowing themselves to stop posing and control their expressions. And even though the images capture every visible and invisible imperfection, the final photographic prints are extremely beautiful.” – Cara Phillips