How often do you cringe when looking at photographs of yourself? It's a feeling London-based photographer Rut Mackel seems to relish, evidenced by her latest project, "The Ugly Truth." In the striking portrait series, Mackel puts her subjects in poses that are anything but beautiful, showing an array of contorted and artificially disfigured faces.
Mackel creates her photos by asking models to press their faces against a glass pane. While the subject, artist and viewer are aware that the contortions are only momentary, the images raise questions of identity and visual perception. How would our emotional responses to these pictures change if the disfigurement was permanent?
Here's how the artist explains "The Ugly Truth" on her website:
”[The] face is a symbol of personal identity. It’s the mirror, or the mask of the self...Thus, facial disfigurement can be particularly distressing.”
Mackel's work reminds us of both photographer Wes Naman's "Scotch Tape" series as well as Tadas Černiauskas's "Blow Job" project. Scroll through the slideshow below for more images from "The Ugly Truth." What do you think, readers? Is there beauty in these distorted portraits?