A Bulgarian fashion magazine has stirred quite a bit of controversy this week with one of its recent editorials. Shot by Vasil Garmanov, the Victim of Beauty spread features six disturbing images of injured looking models who as well as showing off their flawless makeup and dressy jewellery, sport black eyes, cut up lips and even a slit throat.
Without an obvious statement backing the reason or aim of the shoot, readers of the 12 magazine and the rest of us too, have been left to decide for ourselves whether we would class such brutal images as art or not.
Many people have reacted with the idea that the images clearly depict the lengths women often go to, with regard to plastic surgery, in order to achieve physical perfection but that doesn’t really explain why a couple of the model’s piercings have been made to look as if they have been ripped out. Others have suggested that the pictures illustrate how despite having scars women can still be regarded as being beautiful but if that were the case then surely they would have made the fake scars look more natural as opposed to violent and bloody.
When I first saw the photographs I couldn’t help but wince in imagined pain and personally I’m not buying into any of the above discussed thoughts or ideas. I’m not sure I would go as far as saying that these photographs encourage or promote domestic violence in any way but it worries me that images that seem to want to normalise violence against women are making it to the mainstream and are also being described by many as “stunning” and “beautiful”. Also I believe that if the photographer and all those involved truly wanted to depict a positive message or bring about some sort of awareness regarding either real beauty or domestic violence, they would have done so clearly. My opinion is that they probably just wanted to shock people, get us talking and get hits – and if that was the case, then it worked.
Additional photographs below, please do not scroll down if you feel that these graphic images may upset you in any way.
If you need support or would like further information on domestic violence please visit Refuge, a registered charity dedicated to raising awareness and providing care for those affected by such abuse.