Extreme Plastic Surgery – A New Kind of Beauty by Philip Toledano


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Extreme plastic surgery is becoming more common place. There is no doubt. And there seems to be little stopping its continued influence on our culture and perceptions of beauty. Phillip Toledano, an amazingly talented photographer born in London and represented around the world by some of the most respected photographic galleries, recently took it upon himself to explore the world of extreme plastic surgery and the people who inhabit it. Influenced by tradition forms of romantic portraiture and classical depictions of beauty, Philip photographed a number of men and women who had embraced plastic surgery and used it to change their appearance dramatically.

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“I’m interested in what we define as beauty, when we choose to create it ourselves.

Beauty has always been a currency, and now that we finally have the technological means to mint our own, what choices do we make?

Is beauty informed by contemporary culture? By history? Or is it defined by the surgeon’s hand? Can we identify physical trends that vary from decade to decade, or is beauty timeless?

When we re-make ourselves, are we revealing our true character, or are we stripping away our very identity?

Perhaps we are creating a new kind of beauty. An amalgam of surgery, art, and popular culture? And if so, are the results the vanguard of human induced evolution?”

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60 Comments

  1. With all the time we spend dressing ourselves, changing our looks, worrying about our body-hair-make-up, our muscles, what kind of bag we use, shooting 1000 selfies – I don’t understand why people get so upset by these portrayed folks – who decided to go 1 step further. Which one of us is really natural, with the hairless legs, shaped eyebrows, coloured hair, straight teeth, pierced ears…etc.

  2. They are all largely repugnant to me. They make me feel uncomfortable, as I feel like I am gawking at their mental illness. I am patronising a freak show, and it makes me uneasy. The fact that they are now all deformed to some extent, but feel better about themselves for it is disturbing. Kurtis alludes to a dead look in their eyes, and I’m not sure that is true, I think it is just that they mostly now look inhuman. Boobs do not point upwards, pecks are not that far apart on a real human, eye-sockets are not that shape in real life. And don’t get me started on the lips. Yes maybe fuller lips are attractive, but when you have a bike inner-tube stuck to your mouth, it is not attractive, but you can’t see it, you look in the mirror and think, bigger is better, while in fact it is truly monstrous. I lament that these people who obviously have a mental illness, have been exploited by second rate plastic surgeons who have abused these desperate people for financial gain, while a real doctor would have refused. These animals have grabbed the money and deformed people, rather than try to get them the help they obviously need.

  3. The many offers of the plastic world of capitalism and the visual appeal with no substance is what it is selling. It is no different in popular music, films, books and the goods it produces.

  4. I used to not understand that most people who have extreme plastic surgery are well aware that they look unnatural, and that’s precisely what they’re going for. It’s a status symbol, or a fetish, or an otherwise intentional effort to obtain the ‘worked on’ look. It’s your body, do what you want with it. I do wonder how anyone has time to marvel at the universe around them and be so fixated on their appearance at the same time, though.

  5. Well, to begin with. These “photo” look so artificial, that you can’t really tell how artificial these people look. That also changes our way of perception and beauty.

    1. I agree, i think the photographer had an agenda to make them look distant and disturbed. Either a rubbish photographer, or they have pushed to make every last image totally unflattering.

  6. These people still don’t look like they’re Happy. There’s more a sense of longing and uncompletness in their eyes. It you think of yourself as beautiful and perfect the way you see yourself, you should have a smile a on your face

  7. In everyone of these, I see people that wanted the fuller lips that ethnic people naturally have. Their idea of beauty is everything they don’t have instead of the beauty they were born with.

  8. I am all for plastic surgery. If someone if not confident about a certain aspect of their body then they are entitled and have to choice to change it. However this seems a tad extreme and all of the personalities portrayed within these images showcase the same image.

  9. I enjoyed the display because its not saying go get surgey its saying although ive altered my body im still a person whos not ashamed to say look at me even if you may not like it. Its simple and I dont see much vanity emphsized in these photos, simple background with white garments. No flashy jewlery or serious light, just people, human being that scilpted their own canvases.

  10. One of the aspects that I noticed in common within these images is that majority of individuals seem to roughly resemble one another. This is merely an image of plastic surgery but instead the personification of what is considered beautiful within today’s society. Everyday men and women are constantly harassed by images translating this folly myth of what beauty is. Beauty dose not exist and like everything else (such as fashion, trends..) is socially constructed and changes over time and by following this and by following this myth you will find, like trends you will be left with a body/face that is due to become outdated. By you And embrace diversity.

  11. is the statue of David beautiful or a Boticelli painting or sculpture by Rodin. take a look. what’s makes this differnt and so offensive to you? if they’re all “ugly” what is beauty?

      1. Try and control that chip on your shoulder Erica. You don’t have a monopoly on all mental illnesses. They have A mental illness, we are no experts that can that give it a technical name, it is just a mental illness, you don’t own the trademark on the expression, get over yourself.

  12. Amazing. My mind spins thinking about vanity and the first-world beauty culture, a wholly (for me) unknown other realm of life right here on earth. I think too of all of the bad photos of me and how I wish to be different when I see myself in them. Acceptance is challenging sometimes.

        1. I think the point he’s trying to make is that beauty is in the eye of the beholder…
          And each to their own on that self mutilation, man, if they feel better that way let them be.

          1. I think the point he’s trying to make is that cannibalism is eventually a beautifull thing, paedophilia too, who are we to judge people with our little undersized moral and opinion…
            Photos are superb imho but they do represent quite wasted souls.

        2. I find beauty in lots of places. Including here. They changed themselves so they looked like the idea of beauty in their minds. I find it fascinating how different the definition of beauty can be, subjectively.
          Take your mindless, pointless judgemental remarks and leave.

          1. I take it you also find beauty in being a fascist, as you seem intent on trying to get anyone with a different opinion from you to leave. Take a good look at yourself, it’s not pretty.

          2. I dislike people who are aggressively judgmental for no reason. Why insult this artist and his art? He and others see beauty here, even if you don’t. And if you don’t see beauty, there is still not reason to foist your judgment and beliefs on everyone else. Insulting what you don’t like is childish, immature, and takes away from the conversation; it adds nothing useful or constructive.

          3. Well that is your issue, art can generate extreme reactions, some of us are repulsed by the destruction of natural beauty displayed here. The artist has obviously gone to lengths to highlight the negative, with harsh lighting and contrast. There is nothing flattering or sympathetic to the subjects here. You see beauty, good for you, I see horror, mental illness and loss, and who are you to judge my reaction? Who are you to deem it childish and immature? In fact what give you the bloody right? You are the one with the issue here. Kindly keep your obnoxious opinion to yourself.

          4. Wow. See, I thought comments pages were FOR discussions. Your points aren’t logical, until your last message; you were just insulting this artist and his art because you didn’t like it. Which IS childish and immature. As to what gives me the right to be here? The same right you are using. I’m not judging your opinion on this article. I’m pointing out that insulting someone else’s hard work and creativity is not helpful or interesting to read, nor does it add to the discussion. Actually discussing the art does.

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