This is stunning.
A former fashion photographer now doing documentary work, Izabella Demavlys writes in her artist’s statement that “to illustrate a deeper definition of female beauty, I photograph women whose pictorial beauty radiates from their accomplishment, character and personal struggles.” Her latest series, “Without a Face,” offers a direct and profoundly affecting kind of beauty: portraits of Pakistani women healing after attacks by men wielding kerosene oil or battery acid. One, 20-year-old Memona, was attacked by a boy on her way to school; she’s undergone some 30 reconstructive surgeries. Saira (below) was burned by her husband for refusing to move in with him. According to Demavlys, 400 women in Lahore alone are currently awaiting surgery from such attacks.
In an email interview, Demavlys told about her move from fashion photography — which she says presents a distorted image of beauty — to these portraits of women who, while disfigured by acts of hatred, force us to reconsider ideas about beauty and resilience. In discussing what she feels her earlier work lacked, she used a fitting term, one used by Roland Barthes: The images in “Without a Face” undeniably have “punctum,” the ability to “wound” or “pierce” the viewer.
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