Not For The Squeamish: Is This Violent Editorial Art Or Exploitation?

Somewhere between our appreciation for bold art and our zero tolerance for violence lie our feelings about the hotly debated editorial photo shoot featured in the current issue of 12 magazine. The "Victim Of Beauty" portfolio includes beautiful models wearing makeup that makes them appear as though they have a black eye, or an acid burn, or even a slit throat. Naturally, the photos and editors quickly (and rightly) received backlash for what many people took as a glamorized display of domestic violence. However, beyond the pictures and their initial reception, what was particularly disturbing was the response from 12's EICs Huben Hubenov and Slav Anastasov, as reported by Fashionista.
Defending their extremely careless bold editorial decision, Hubenov and Anastasov of course stressed that they do not support violence, but were glad to see the conversation that the images sparked. They also went on to ask all sorts of hypothetical questions themselves, such as: What if the models were men? And what if the images were obviously presented as an anti domestic-violence campaign? Sure, questions are great, but that's all they are: questions. The images weren't of men and nowhere do we see any obvious messaging that this is some sort of awareness campaign instead of just your average magazine editorial.
You want a discussion? Okay, let's chat. In our eyes, it's our gut reaction that takes over. The images are disturbing, upsetting, and make us wonder if violence and pain can be addressed in a more thoughtful way, rather than for the sake of shock value. The editorial also calls to mind America's Next Top Model cycle eight, in which the girls were depicted as victims of a stabbing, a strangling, and poisoning, to name a few, for a photo shoot. We had really hoped the industry would have evolved a bit in the past five years.
On one positive note, we will praise the makeup artist, Daniela Avramova, who has incredible talent. Kudos, for successfully making us squirm. But beyond the craft, we're more concerned with the type of message these images stand to send. When you look at these photos, do you see art in the form of vulnerability, or do you just see a victim being glamorized? (Fashionista)
Ahead, all the images in question (warning: graphic). Take a look and let us know where you stand in the comments below.
Photo: Via 12 Magazine

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