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Beauty Culture in LA

While most of my time in Los Angeles was spent working, I did fit in a few cultural excursions. The Annenberg Space for Photography in Century City is part of a breathtakingly modern complex and the surrounding buildings are part of the experience. Established by Wallis Annenberg, the museum is the first cultural destination in Los Angeles dedicated solely to photography.


According to the website, the current exhibit, 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.

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.”

It was interesting to see how our beauty ideals change through the decades. Contrast Cheryl Tieg’s iconic poster image from 1978 with the image of Lakshmi Menon, the first Indian model to really catch on with the Western fashion press.


©1978 Albert Watson         © 2007 Prabuddha Dasgupta

The show also examines unhealthy beauty obsessions, such as the world of child beauty pageants and extreme plastic surgery.


Beauty, Age 4, Las Vegas, Nevada
© 2006 Susan Anderson/ Courtesy of Patrick Painter, Inc.

And how funny is this photograph? Read all the way through. I promise it is worth it for a good laugh at the “realities” of picture making.


Annie Sprinkle: Anatomy of a Pin-Up © 2006 Zorro

The show runs from May 21st to Nov 27th, 2011 at the Annenberg Space for Photography, Century Park 2000 Avenue of the Stars #10 Los Angeles, CA 90067. Admission is free!

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