‘Love Me’ reflects on the cultural and commercial forces that drive a global obsession with youth and beauty.
Over a period of five years, Zed Nelson visited eighteen countries across five continents. Nelson says; “The project explores how a new form of globalization is taking place, where an increasingly narrow Western beauty ideal is being exported around the world like a crude universal brand. Beauty is a $160 billion-a-year global industry. The worldwide pursuit of body improvement has become like a new religion.”
Whilst Nelson’s subjects appear willing participants in an omnipresent culture of bodily improvement, they are also hapless victims – at the mercy of larger social forces and locked into their insatiable craving for approval. In Love Me, Zed Nelson has produced a powerful body of work that forces every one of us to question our own place in a culture that compels us to constantly judge, and be judged, by our appearance.
Love Me has won numerous awards in 2010: First Prize in the ‘Issue Reporting Picture Story’ in the Pictures of the Year (PoY) competition, USA; a World Press Photo award for ‘Contemporary Issues’; First Prize book award in the 2010 International Photography Awards (IPA); and ‘Judges’ Special Recognition’ in the ‘Best Photography Book Award’ of the PoY competition.”