Project

Tribe Of Impossible Perfection in the Stephanie Diani’s Project

After inviting the plastic surgeon into the studio, Stephanie Diani asked her models about the things, they would like to change in themselves

Stephanie Diani
43 years oldStephanie Diani,
Photographer based in Los Angeles. Worked with Leonard Nimoy, Debra Messing, Jamie King and Jim Parsons. Had her photos exhibited in New York, Washington, London and Peru. Gets inspired by Irving Penn, Richard Avedon, Alex Webb and Philip-Lorca diCorcia. According to her confession, in her next life she would like to be a writer.
Idea

The idea slowly developed after I moved to Los Angeles. I kept noticing how many people had had some form of plastic surgery, and then friends who were actors and models started having small things done — botox, lip fillers, peels. Having “work” done started to feel mandatory to me. Around this time a photo subject connected me to a plastic surgeon and I pitched him the idea of working with me on the series.

What I wanted to show in this series is the pervasiveness of body image issues. All of the women are beautiful, just not all in the conventional sense. But who determines what beauty is? If we can change those standards, or at least recognize that they are not necessarily true or healthy, maybe we can move beyond them. It is not a revolutionary idea, but it’s one that I am interested in.

The name “Tribe Of Impossible Perfection” came after the series had been shot. As I was photographing the women, I realized that the lines the surgeon drew resembled tribal tattoos, and the women who came responded to my casting notices because they were interested in having something done. So in a sense they all belonged to the same tribe. It’s “impossible” because no matter what a person gets done, time and gravity will continue to have an effect.


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“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DIANI_Tribe_001.jpg”,
“alt”: “Stephanie Diani 1”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DIANI_Tribe_002.jpg”,
“alt”: “Stephanie Diani 2”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DIANI_Tribe_003.jpg”,
“alt”: “Stephanie Diani 3”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DIANI_Tribe_004.jpg”,
“alt”: “Stephanie Diani 4”
},
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“alt”: “Stephanie Diani 5”
},
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“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DIANI_Tribe_006.jpg”,
“alt”: “Stephanie Diani 6”
}

People

All of the women who participated in the project responded to casting notices I posted on modeling sites and craigslist. I explained what the idea was, and that they would be required to pose seminude, before they arrived on site. About 30% of the women who committed failed to show up, and I don’t fault them at all. The women who ended up in the final project were very courageous.

One of the women had had significant work done in the past, and wanted to have it all done again — liposuction, breast lift and enhancement, botox — but I am not sure whether she moved forward immediately after I had photographed her. Several of the models talked to the surgeon about coming in to see him in his office.


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“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DIANI_Tribe_007.jpg”,
“alt”: “Stephanie Diani 7”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DIANI_Tribe_008.jpg”,
“alt”: “Stephanie Diani 8”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DIANI_Tribe_009.jpg”,
“alt”: “Stephanie Diani 9”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DIANI_Tribe_010.jpg”,
“alt”: “Stephanie Diani 10”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DIANI_Tribe_011.jpg”,
“alt”: “Stephanie Diani 11”
},
{
“img”: “/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/DIANI_Tribe_012.jpg”,
“alt”: “Stephanie Diani 12”
}

New York and beauty industry

I think pretty much everyone has at least one thing that they would change if they could. We are bombarded with images of beautiful people in advertising and entertainment, and many of those images have been manipulated after the fact to soften or eliminate imperfections. I can only speak authoritatively to the effect of those images on myself, and it is not a positive influence. I could give you a laundry list of things I’d like to change, and I don’t take a bite of dessert without mentally committing to working out the next day. That particular self-critical voice appeared after I had moved to Los Angeles which, justifiably so, is stereotyped as a city full of workout freaks and plastic surgery clients.

The beauty industry’s whole reason for being is to sell the idea of perfection to women. They show us how much prettier, thinner, taller we could be with the help of their product. If someone is exposed to the advertising on a regular basis, the other side of that message — that there is something wrong with us — sinks in eventually.

I am on the verge of relocating to New York city, so I am anticipating taking some time once I am there to dig around in the various neighborhoods and social strata looking for inspiration. I have expectations about the people and the place that I’m sure are full of inaccuracies, so my next project will be somehow related to my reconciling the difference between the perceived and the actual Manhattan.

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