From the grim and morbid images of James Nachtwey's war photographs, it's probably a good time to take a break and focus on the beauty and vitality of the world. In this particular case, it seems beauty isn't just in the eye of the beholder, but innate to humans. Or is it? That's what portrait photographer Vee Speers questions in her series "Immortal".
Vee Speers is a photographer now based in Paris. She works mainly with portraits, starting in 2002 with her Series "Bordello" done in the red-light district of Paris and moving on to the series "Parisians" focusing on the other intersting characters that inhabit the city.
She became more widely known in the art and photography world for her series entitled "The Birthday Party" wherein she photographed children on their birthday dressed in their favorite costumes, but through her lens transformed them into eerily curious little people. So far, all of her projects have an air of theatricality that combines a bit of reality with her own fantasy.
Speers began her Immortal series around 2010 with the objective of rendering a visually striking depiction of its namesake, Immortality. The collection explores man's fascination for beauty and immortality, and also hints at destruction and death.
For Speers, it is somewhat curious that some people think about their own mortality but don't immediately associate that thought with growing old. Through her pictures, she presents today's perception of immortality; youth, sensuality and perfection.
For all the beauty present in these pictures, even the average viewer can see something's a bit off; they appear too beautiful and overly perfect (if that's even a term used). They are more fantasy than reality, and in being so viewers can't think of these subjects as wholly human. In Speers' previous work involving children, fantasy and illusion are quite obvious yet acceptable because who doesn't dream of being a gladiator or ballerina when they were young? Here however, man's weakness and fear of growing old and wrinkled is all the more emphasized.
Still, the photographs provide some nice eye candy without having to go through all of the philosophical implications underneath.
Vee Speers' website is here. Her "Immortal" series is here. She currently has two book published on her previous collections both touching on two different types of beauty depending on the eye of the beholder, The Birthday Party and Bordello.