Thursday, January 24, 2008

[Raphael Hefti and his series Beauticians, from reGeneration. Get it!]
Raphael Hefti found his models in department stores. Choosing a frontal view, he wanted to capture in as much detail as possible 'the face as an image'- a concept that is further justified by the fact that the women photographed all sell cosmetics and are meant to represent the brand that employs them: Clarins, LancĂ´me, Chanel, etc. Individuality disappears behind a face that is coated in a layer of foundation and blusher, reminiscent of a mask. Hefti tells us that rather than faces themselves, we should talk about the desire for a face. Make-up and skincare products, visible in the background but impossible to distinguish because they remain out of focus, try to make us beleive that we can all change our faces and that it is possible to fight against time and the body's own fraglie nature. In its seductive appeal but also sometimes in its excess, creating a face means creating an image, as is eloquently demonstrated by Hefti's portraits of saleswomen as soldiers of consumerism.

Sorry for poor quality pics folks (another reason why you should buy a book of his).

There is something utterly interesting about these pictures. The gaze and the posture of these women are identical. The facial expression is reinforced with the reflection of the lightning panels from their eyes. This reflection is what gives them the horrifying look. Their masks cannot hide their bestiality.

Link to Hefti's site.