The greatest perfection is imperfection.
To Aristotle perfect meant complete, nothing to add or subtract. To Empedocles perfection depends on incompleteness since the latter possesses a potential for development and improvement. Here lies the paradox formulated by Italian Renaissance philosopher Giulio Cesare Vanini. The paradox of perfection is that imperfection is perfect.
I travelled around Italy researching imperfect beauties in six different non-conventional beauty pageants and applying a color symbolism to each one:
Miss Chubby, pink as softness;
Miss Trans, purple as transformation;
Miss Mediterranea, yellow as youth;
Miss Plastic Surgery, fuchsia as sensual;
Miss Drag Queen, orange as vibrant;
Miss Over, blue as wisdom.
Six imperfect beauties (due to their weight, clothes, excess of silicone, or age) if compared to the typology of beauty imposed by mass media and the consumerist society we live in. In Italy, in particular, beauty has become a political tool during the Berlusconi era. Since the 80’s, his media empire has introduced a culture of luxury and sex to shape his electorate. Italy became in the mean time a country where half-naked beautiful women are plucked from TV studios and elevated into powerful positions. This culture has generated an unprecedented wave of castings and beauty pageants for girls and women of all ages all over Italy.
In response to the aesthetic and political state of my country, I worked on Perfect, a series of 36 photographs focusing on how the beauty dictated by our politicized consumerist society is emulated by the masses, and on the link between imperfection and perfection.Documentary, Fashion, Photography2012
“If you gotta die, and we all gotta die,
it’s me you want to bury you. Everybody in Harlem knows that.
I’m the guy who puts a smile on your face. Other places,
you just look dead”
The Isaiah Owens Funeral Home is in the heart of Harlem, New York. Mr. Owens is an artist, and the corpses are his masterpieces. From the moment they die, the undertaker accompanies the deceased in a process of burial customs resembling the ancient Egyptians. With dedication and respect, the modern Anubis, God of the dead, beautifully prepares the defunct for their after-life.
Death often represents a taboo in Western cultures. A taboo that Isaiah Owens challenges every day.Documentary, Photography, Photojournalism2012
Immigration in Lampedusa.Documentary, Photography, Photojournalism2012
12 photographs from the "Hill of Shame" series, Lampedusa, Italy.Documentary, Photojournalism, Photography2012
Carneval at the Teatro La Fenice, Venice, Italy.Documentary, Photography, Photojournalism2012
Borough Park, a jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn.Documentary, Photography, Photojournalism2012
All images © Gianni Cipriano 2012.