Everyone is terrified of passing away, but have you ever considered how much more difficult life would be if you were also forced to contend with physical deformity and impairment? Cyril Crepin, a photographer, prefers to shoot individuals undergoing face reconstruction surgery in spite of the fact that our culture has a tendency to reject everything that is unique and to define beauty in a very narrow manner. The French artist takes portrait photographs of patients who have had significant facial damage as part of her series titled “Disfiguration Portraits.” Despite the fact that these images can be difficult to look at at times, they are most shocking in the sense that they remind us of our own fragility and our own preconceived notions of what is considered to be normal.
“I took them as a fine art project to show the world the beauty that can be found in ordinary faces, and to attempt to alter the way that people see what constitutes conventional beauty. It would seem that today’s culture considers ‘hyper lifted’ faces to be attractive, despite the fact that all of them look the same. The majority of deformed persons want to remain anonymous. They are unable to have any form of social life due to the glances and the remarks of ‘normal’ individuals. It’s really too bad. One of my models, who is now a friend of mine, said to me that he was walking down the street one day when he was approached by a stranger who asked him, “How can you stay like this?” after seeing him in his unkempt state. Look at you! If I were you, I’d put a bullet in my brain.’ If I were you, I would. For these individuals, this is how things really are. As a result, the most that any of us can do is gaze at these photos and try to find some kind of beauty in them, as Crepin says.