language / neglect / fear of invisibility / time / ritual / gesture / pursue of beauty / advertising

Treat Yourself is a project about pursuit of beauty, fear of invisibility, and language used in cosmetics advertising aimed at women.

The images from this series are photograms that have been created in a darkroom by using objects used in beauty treatments.

Advertisements convince us to believe that beauty treatments and products are fun. Like treats. That whenever we invest in these products and treatments, we invest in our personal wellbeing and future. A glowing, healthy skin equals self-love, acceptance, visibility, health.

Adverts prey on people’s insecurities, carve out this sense of need, and then make money by trying to fill that gap, that sense of emptiness. Wittily worded labels, loud advertisements, false promises, bright lights, feelings of detachment and attachment, belonging and alienation.

I’m interested in exploring this ritual, this pursue of beauty, through photography. The images resemble x-rays, and my intention is to pour light onto the issues created by this system that tries to capitalise on people’s internalised insecurities.

People are made to believe that we need them. That they are good for us. That using them is an act of self-care. That with that healthy glow, happiness will follow.

What’s interesting is that to ‘treat’ something can also refer to a wound, a cut. I’m equally interested in the empty spaces as well as what is visible to the eye, in how that gap caused by a sense of disconnect and detachment is filled with foundations, creams and lotions. This project is an investigation of how and why those isolated, floating, fleeting pieces of self are sewn together, of the different ways the feeling of not belonging is hidden and suppressed, blended and faded out

  1. Anna Karoliina Illustration

Other works

© 2019 Anna Karoliina Partanen

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