About this project
White Consultation Chair, Upper East Side. 2006
Help support independent publishing!
I am pre-selling copies of my first monograph, Singular Beauty, a photographic exploration of the world of cosmetic surgery. The full-color, soft-cover publication includes 44 color images, an essay, and an interview. It scheduled for a summer 2012 release by the non-profit publishing project, Fw:, co-founded by Dutch graphic designer, Hans Gremmen.
The book is limited to 700 copies and it will be distributed through the Fw:. As a backer you are guaranteed to receive an advance copy with any pledge of $45 or more (limited to 250 copies.) And every supporter will have their name included in the book in a special “partner” section as a thank you for making this book a reality.
Why support this project? By becoming our partner in the publication of the book, you are giving independent artists the means to take chances and to put creativity before commercial concerns
Color photocopy sample of the final publication
ABOUT the photographs
People always ask why was I drawn to document the offices of cosmetic surgeons. The original impetus was personal; I had a long history working in the beauty industry and my own body-image demons. But the project evolved into something much more than I had anticipated. In 2004, when I began shooting, cosmetic surgery was in the midst of its largest increase in number of procedures in 15 years, and the US economy was booming. Americans were embracing beauty enhancements like never before--on television there were three reality shows about cosmetic surgery--every major woman’s magazine had monthly article’s about the latest and greatest procedures; even the New York Times was regularly covering the industry. But shortly after I took the last image in the series, in 2008, the financial crisis hit, and suddenly putting $10,000 in cosmetic surgery on a high-interest credit card looked less like an expression of freedom and more like another symptom of the American credit dependence. The final images have come to represent a moment in our history where money, technology, and a new standard of beauty collided.
White Consultation Bed, Washington DC. 2008
For a pledge of $125 receive a handmade 4 x 5 artist print, for $1000 a 16 x 20 or for $2500, a 30 x 37.5 editioned print.
Totebag designed by Hans Gremmen for Kickstarter backers
When the financial crisis hit in 2008 the book industry was deeply affected and getting your first book published went from being difficult to almost impossible. As a result many publishers must ask the artist, gallery, or museum cover all or some of the cost of production. Even with the explosion of self-publishing, the cost of making books on a small-to-medium scale is considerable. But rather than give up, many artists have begun to employ innovative forms of publishing. The result has been an explosion in the number of photo books being made, and some very exciting developments in design and distribution.
Artists and publishers in the Netherlands have been at the forefront of this photo book reinvention. Dutch artists are making some of the best designed and most innovative books in the world right now--and, after struggling for three years to find the right publisher for this work, I was lucky enough to meet Dutch book designer and publisher Hans Gremmen. I am thrilled to be collaborating with him on this project. His has taken the raw materials of my project and created a beautiful and original book design.
The beauty of Kickstarter’s funding platform is that it allows me to take risks with the form of the book, and to collaborate with someone who is passionate and engaged in the project. For artists who cannot turn to family or the art world for financial backing, it is empowering them with the means to share their art with the world.
Every backer of $500 will receive a unique, signed Polaroid
About the artist
Cara was one of the first photographers we developed a relationship with, having seen her “Singular Beauty" project develop from its early stages. She is one of few photographers who uses photography to foster discussion on complex political issues with a delicacy that avoids dogmatism or heavy handedness. We would highly recommend anyone with the means to contribute to her career and practice.
--Amani Olu and Jon Feinstein. Founders, Humble Arts Foundation
stalks us with a condescending eye. From television screens to
magazines, shop windows to billboards, there is hardly a face or figure
that hasn't been trimmed, polished, and reinvented to beleaguer us with
an increasingly unattainable paradigm of physical beauty. In her savvy,
new monograph, Cara Phillips explores the reassuring environments and
ominous implements of cosmetic surgery. Singular Beauty provides us with
a voyeuristic view into the pristine temples of physical transformation
while offering an insightful critique of our culture of narcissism.
--Michael Paris Mazzeo, Director of Michael Mazzeo Projects
Blue Before & After Room, Tribeca. 2007
Red Liposuction Machine, Orange County. 2007
I have been following the development of Kickstarter since the NY Times first reported about them in 2009. As an artist that began my career just as the financial crisis hit, finding alternative forms of funding have been incredibly important. I also owe a huge part of my success to being a self-starter on the internet. When I gradated school I had almost no connections and my school had no post-graduate support system in the art world. So I started my own blog in 2007. It not only helped me get started in my career it led to some amazing relationships with my peers and other art professionals.
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