A New Kind Of Beauty portrays subjects who have undergone extreme plastic surgery.

Photographer Phillip Toledano, the artist behind the series, wanted to capture what he calls "a vanguard of human-induced evolution."

Body mod and cosmetic surgery are still sensitive topics for many, even more so when seen in the razor sharp detail of Toledano’s lens.

He describes his subjects as “the vanguard of human-induced evolution,” proof that cosmetic surgery goes hand in hand with a whole host of other developments, like wearable tech.

“In 50 or 100 years time, I think humanity won’t look like it does today because of technology,” Toledano says.

"We will be able to redefine what it means to look human, and I think these people are the vanguard of that type of evolution,” says Toledano.

"We will be able to redefine what it means to look human, and I think these people are the vanguard of that type of evolution,” says Toledano.

"We will be able to redefine what it means to look human, and I think these people are the vanguard of that type of evolution,” says Toledano.

"We will be able to redefine what it means to look human, and I think these people are the vanguard of that type of evolution,” says Toledano.

"We will be able to redefine what it means to look human, and I think these people are the vanguard of that type of evolution,” says Toledano.

"We will be able to redefine what it means to look human, and I think these people are the vanguard of that type of evolution,” says Toledano.

"We will be able to redefine what it means to look human, and I think these people are the vanguard of that type of evolution,” says Toledano.

"We will be able to redefine what it means to look human, and I think these people are the vanguard of that type of evolution,” says Toledano.

"We will be able to redefine what it means to look human, and I think these people are the vanguard of that type of evolution,” says Toledano.

"We will be able to redefine what it means to look human, and I think these people are the vanguard of that type of evolution,” says Toledano.

"We will be able to redefine what it means to look human, and I think these people are the vanguard of that type of evolution,” says Toledano.

Co.Design

Portraits Of Extreme Plastic Surgery, Done In Classical Style (NSFW)

Borrowing techniques from Hans Holbein the Younger, Phillip Toledano photographs a new kind of beauty.

There are two ways most people interpret A New Kind Of Beauty, a book of photographs by Phillip Toledano that documents proponents of extreme cosmetic surgery. First, there’s revulsion: "the expected ‘Holy shit! These people look crazy,’ which definitely isn’t the point of the work," the British photographer tells Slate. "And then there are hopefully some people who understand the point I’m making about the direction we’re headed."

It’s also easy to feel a bit of both. While body modification is an increasingly accepted mode of personal expression, it’s still a taboo and unnerving topic for many of us—even more so when seen in the razor sharp detail of Toledano’s lens.

For many, plastic surgery is a tool that can be used to reveal someone’s true identity. Others see the upward spike in body mod as an indicator of the immense societal pressure to attain a specific standard of beauty and youth—look no further than the booming labiaplasty industry for proof of that. Toledano articulates the ambiguity with a volley of questions: "When we remake ourselves, are we revealing our true character, or are we stripping away our very identity?" Perhaps we are creating a new kind of beauty. An amalgam of surgery, art, and popular culture?"

Still, the photographer is quick to point out that there’s a whole spectrum of reasons—good and bad—why people modify their bodies surgically. He describes his subjects as "the vanguard of human-induced evolution," proof that cosmetic surgery goes hand in hand with a whole host of other developments, like wearable tech. "In 50 or 100 years time, I think humanity won’t look like it does today because of technology," he says. "We will be able to redefine what it means to look human, and I think these people are the vanguard of that type of evolution."

So are these photographs of early adopters? Considering how frequently we talk about body-modding technology these days (stamp-on-skin circuits, anyone?), that assessment isn’t far off the bat.

Head over to Slate for the whole story, or buy A New Kind Of Beauty here.

Add New Comment

9 Comments

  • Lu Sabal

    The photos are very very odd, each person looks "preserved", not like a living natural being. Very odd and surreal.

  • oregonduckbrad

    Hugely, completely, and totally disgusting. Reminiscent of the circus freaks of days of old.

  • Contracting Profits

    This should be a wake-up call to people who consider extreme plastic surgery, not a compliment (a.k.a considering them a "vanguard" to the movement). These photos reveal the dire consequences of self-mutilation and corrupted self-esteem. The effects borderline "monstrous" results. 

    While I have no doubts that technology may change the way we look in the future (and there are other, better examples of the use of subtle, plastic surgery) I can't help but feel equally, and deeply disturbed for the above individuals. 

    We are living in oxymoronic times. On one hand there is a gallant movement for acceptance regarding everything from race to sexuality to anti-bullying, and on the other we have people doing this ^^^. 

    It pains me that people would go that far just to feel better about themselves. With the end results, I can't imagine that this method has worked.