In sterile rooms spot-lit chairs take centre stage, ready to seat the next nip/tuck client. Against cold grey walls, liposuction machines on wheels stand with clean beakers and drooping tubes. In a corner, above a large pink chair, a gilt-framed mirror reflects a wet babe emerging from the ripples. Apart from the kidney dish splattered with blood, Cara Phillips’ photographs of plastic surgery clinics move by insinuation. Her photos are of empty rooms: the viewer is invited to imagine the procedure, the real life cutting and pasting, and all the insecurities that must accompany it.
Whether its a key ingredient of your dressing-table fantasies or fills you with sickening despair about humanity/commercialism/everything, there’s no denying plastic surgery is big business. Over the last couple of decades it’s gone from being a privileged fad to an unavoidable fact not only in fashion and celebrity but in many ordinary lives. Phillips’ monograph, Singular Beauty, is a chilling and occasionally grimly amusing insight into the rooms that house these transformations and the ominous instruments that make them happen.
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