The photographs featured in this book tell the story of my search for authentic beauty. It is the result of my conviction that our current ideals of beauty are increasingly being influenced by the widespread use of image retouching and manipulation. Contemporary fashion photography is seemingly obsessed with optimizing our visual environment and enhancing our physical appearance. Although there is a growing awareness of the realities of image manipulation, we still tend to perceive manipulated images through an unfiltered lens - as if they were real. I'm certainly in no position to stop this trend, nor can I deny that creating an idealized world can be exciting at times. However, I've come to believe that such an idealized world is only a substitute for my longing for true unadorned beauty.
Rather than succumb to the perfect, yet ultimately artificial, beauty afforded by image retouching and manipulation, I wanted to bring authenticity back to modern fashion photography. The subject of this photographic project is a collection of 100 women shot at various locations throughout the world. The creative impulse was to reveal the subjective qualities of the models, to give voice and shape to their unique personalities. As my medium, I chose Polaroid film, as it represents an ideal counter-weight to the retouched visual language of our times. Polaroids are a real-time medium; they freeze moments in time as they occur, unmanipulated, unembellished and utterly spontaneous. The analog nature of this medium is almost anachronistic, yet it helps convey a sense of authenticity through the manner in which the image slowly appears and perfectly depicts reality, blemishes and all. I also applied a minimalist approach to my working environment by using the simplest of lighting equipment and forgoing the use of assistants and stylists. The image selection is strongly influenced by the opinion and self-perception of each model and hence shows how they experience the moment when their photograph was taken, both how they see themselves and how they would like to be seen.
I'd like to thank Jana, without her inspiration and motivation this book would not have been possible. Respect for Tina Bernings for being the most influencing illustrator alive and for her ingenious book 100 Girls On Cheap Paper. Thank you for your inspriring work, Tina.
It is my hope that these photographs offer another way to see beauty. They allow us, perhaps, to see below the surface of perfection and reveal the power and expression of the individual. They celebrate originality as an answer to the ever-growing desire for uniqueness in an overly stereotyped world.