BEAUTY CULTURE provides a seminal examination of photography’s role in capturing and defining notions of modern female beauty and how these images profoundly influence our lives in both celebratory and disturbing ways.
Through different lenses focused on the body beautiful, the exhibition examines both traditional and unconventional definitions of beauty, challenging stereotypes of gender, race and age. It explores the links between beauty and violence, glamour and sexuality and the cost (in its multiple meanings) of beauty.
Featuring works from over 100 world-renowned beauty, fashion and fine art photographers, BEAUTY CULTURE encourages a social discussion about the allure and mystique of the pursuit of female beauty, as well as its cult-like glorification and the multi-billion dollar industries that surround it.
BEAUTY CULTURE presents diverse viewpoints on beauty as it has evolved through the 20th and 21st centuries. These viewpoints are at times challenging, daring and controversial. Ultimately, the exhibition illustrates the power of the still image in shaping cultural ideals and expectations of feminine beauty – and photography’s undeniable influence on conceptions of the Self.
In addition to over 170 photographs featured in the print gallery, BEAUTY CULTURE showcases hundreds of digital images in vivid detail on high-resolution screens in the Digital Gallery. The Digital Gallery also includes a short documentary film that expands upon the print exhibition’s themes, featuring interviews with well-known photographers, models, historians and beauty experts who guide visitors on a fascinating photographic exploration of the culture – and cult – of beauty.
The Annenberg Space for Photography