Love Me Project

Dr. Pitanguy with prospective patient, watched by his team of trainee plastic surgeons. Dr. Pitanguy is known in Brazil as "The Pope of Plastic Surgery", and one of the nation?s most successful plastic surgeons. Once a month he offers free cosmetic surgery to Brazil?s poor. Many come from the nation's favella's seeking breast implants, nose-jobs and tummy-tucks. Those selected are operated on either by himself or one of his large team of trainee plastic surgeons. Rio, Brazil. Photo by Zed Nelson

Dr. Pitanguy with prospective patient, watched by his team of trainee plastic surgeons. Dr. Pitanguy is known in Brazil as "The Pope of Plastic Surgery", and one of the nation's most successful plastic surgeons. Once a month he offers free cosmetic surgery to Brazil's poor. Many come from the nation's favella's seeking breast implants, nose-jobs and tummy-tucks. Those selected are operated on either by himself or one of his large team of trainee plastic surgeons. Rio, Brazil. Photo by Zed Nelson

‘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.”

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