WAYNE FORD's POSTEROUS, September 5, 2010
A New Kind Of Beauty by Phillip Toledan — Wayne Ford
‘Photographs should be like unfinished sentences. There should always be space for questions,’ believes British born photographer Phillip Toledano, and there are many questions raised in his latest series, A New Kind of Beauty, which is currently on show at New York’s Klompching gallery.
Toledano’s photography is routed in social-political commentary, with his previous bodies of work including, Phonesex, a series of portraits of sex chat line operators, and the emotionally moving, and critically acclaimed Days With My Father, a visual memoir produced in the three years prior to his fathers death.
With a A New Kind of Beauty, Toledano looks at the physiognomies of those who have reconfigured their bodies by means of extensive plastic surgery, ‘I’m interested in what we define as beauty, when we choose to create it ourselves,’ he says. In these provocative, yet sensitive and highly respectful portraits — whose lighting and composition brings to mind the paintings of the great Italian master Caravaggio — Toledano’s presents' not a simple study of ‘physical augmentation,’ but a more complex observation of both the emotional and physical human state.
In the nine portraits included in the current show — seven of which are presented as large-scale prints measuring 152.4 x 127 centimeters — we encounter the contemporary conventions of beauty, large breasts, high cheekbones, full lips and wrinkle-free skin, taken to the extreme. And here, in Toledano's portraits one wonders if we are beginning to encounter the philosophical concept of the post-human, a fluidly changing perspective that manifests itself through different identities?
A New Kind of Beauty is at the Klompching Gallery, New York until 29 October 2010.