- Ralph Waldo Emerson
America’s cultural fixation with beauty is a complex and pervasive phenomenon. Consumers have been presented with a seemingly endless array of new products and procedures to make them beautiful–and the American public has made the process of remaking themselves into a full-time job. In 2008 alone, over 10 billion dollars was spent on cosmetic procedures in the United States, because we believe, as the American Society of Plastic Surgeons website states, that “Even a small change on the outside can create an extraordinary change on the inside, allowing an individual’s self-confidence to flourish.”
In 2006, I set out to make this collection of photographs, inspired both by a personal struggle with body issues, and by a long history in the beauty business. In photographing these doctor’s offices, I not only developed a visual record of the mid-to-late 2000’s beauty zeitgeist, but I was able to begin to reconcile my own relationship with beauty. The project became less about the actual place or thing, than the emotional, psychological, political significance of the subject–for myself as an artist–and for those who sought their salvation in these chairs, beds, machines and tools.