Beauty Papers peels back the mask of branded, formulaic fashion to reveal creases of skin underneath, something unabashedly human and, well, beautiful.
Issue three is a highly textural exposure of beauty in its raw and uncompromising forms. Despite its nonconformist features, you still feel safely embedded in a fashion magazine; the pages are smooth and high quality, they have been playful with choices of paper for each feature and some models rock an iconic dead-behind-the-eyes look. There are five covers to choose from, ranging from mild to transgressive. It suits its ideal that there is not and should not be one perfect vision of beauty, therefore one cover might not suit you.
'Outside of the boundaries of mass-market, mass-produced and arguably corporate beauty ideals, Beauty Papers creates a safe space for exploration, dialogue and intrigue.'
Outside of the boundaries of mass-market, mass-produced and arguably corporate beauty ideals, Beauty Papers creates a safe space for exploration, dialogue and intrigue. Some photo shoots are almost akin to Rocky Horror, in a kind of destitute flamboyant way, cracked, with a smear of glitter and rouge. Some of which are performative and exaggerated, colourfully intense, and others are deeply realistic and natural. This blending reflects our subjective nature to what we find aesthetically pleasing. The use of make up amplifies the texture of skin to create set of intimate portraits, closing the boundary between ethereal model and the real, zooming so close that every wrinkle goes unhidden. This is a refreshing juxtaposition to the norm, the prowess of photoshop flaunted until everything is smooth and angular. The make up itself is a form of expression, and it's all too often used for covering up; it’s quite reassuring to see it used otherwise.
Veering from the narcissistic ideal that there is only one body to aspire to, Beauty Papers instead allows aesthetic and emotion to create a very human commentary. Will Self, with elegant precision, explores masculine beauty; the ephemeral paintings of Kaye Donachie show the manipulation of self-representation in women and Lula Main uncovers the tenderness and sentimentality when it comes to death. Culturally sensitive subjects such as gender, sex and death are dealt with natural seamlessness, enveloping them into the pages via intellectual interviews and articles.
Beauty Papers isn't here to tell you how to look a certain way, nor is it displaying ugliness for voyeuristic comparison. It's quite pure in its discussion, a portrait that tells us we are all misfits. Do we have to be poster boys and girls of our generation? No. Can we reclaim, embellish, renew, warp what we presume to be beautiful? Yes.