Cara Phillips – On Beauty

This selection of portraits by Cara Phillips reassess what the portrait really means. For hundreds of years, portraiture was all about showing the best side of someone. We can see this as far back as the old masters – their patrons, sadly, were not as good looking as they were made out to be.

This is where Cara Phillips comes in. She took this photographs using a UV light, which highlighted all the minute imperfections of each of her subjects’ skin. The result is a series of portraits that are somehow unsettling. We’re so used to seeing portraits that have been photoshopped, perfectly lit and doctored that when we see people’s imperfections it’s quite strange.

And while these portraits are beautiful, photographically, they also ask us to think harder about what a portrait really is and how we represent humans in the media. Do we continue to show people at their best, or do we allow them to be a bit more real? As people who produce much of the media in this country – these are questions we need to ask ourselves and each other.

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