Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Susan Anderson



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Susan Anderson: High Glitz

Susan Anderson: High Glitz - at Kopeikin Gallery, October 24 - December 24, 2009


High Glitz: The Extravagant World of Child Beauty Pageants is a close-up and intimate look at America’s child beauty pageants, and in turn our society’s obsession with youth, beauty, fame, and fortune. Susan Anderson’s vibrant portraits of pageant contestants offer a new perspective on this uniquely American subculture.

“High Glitz” is a subgenre of child beauty pageants characterized by couture “glitz” costumes and a broad array of cosmetic preparations including, among other tricks of the trade: glamour makeup, elaborate hairstyles, and “flippers” (false front teeth veneers). Anderson’s stunning visuals are complimented by a “High Glitz Style Guide,” defining and providing examples of the following categories: Beauty/ Formal Wear, Western Wear, Sportswear, and Swimwear, with a special section on hairstyles such as the "Barbie" and the "Up-do."

Each year as many as 100,000 children under the age of 12 participate in U.S. child beauty pageants, and it has recently become a billion-dollar industry. Parents invest thousands of dollars on costumes and private coaches to give their children a competitive edge. Countless hours are spent by professional hair and makeup artists on each child in preparation for the competition. The girls are spray-tanned, made-up, and groomed to a glossy perfection. Anderson captures the results of this time-consuming transformation process in exquisite detail.

In seeing how our society’s values of beauty, glamour, and celebrity are reflected in the hopes and dreams of thousands of young girls, we come to see that these pageants are a reflection of American culture itself.

Susan Anderson is a Los Angeles based commercial, editorial, and fine art photographer, specializing in portraiture, beauty, fashion, and conceptual/narrative work. Having earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago, Anderson relocated to Los Angeles in 2001. Her work has appeared in a variety of magazines including Los Angeles, People, Glamour, and The Robb Report. Her fine-art work is represented by TORCH Gallery in Amsterdam and Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles.

Simon Doonan is a writer, bon vivant, fashion commentator, and window-dresser. He writes a column for the New York Observer entitled, “Simon Says.” He has also written four books including Confessions of a Window Dresser (Studio, 1998), and Eccentric Glamour (Simon & Schuster, 2008).

Robert Greene has authored many books including, The 48 Laws of Power (Viking, 1998), The Art of Seduction (Penguin, 2001), and The 33 Strategies of War (Penguin, 2006). His most recent release is, The 50th Law coauthored by 50 Cent, published by HarperStudio in 2009.

Source for text above found here.









74 comments:

Pretty Little World said...

This kind of thing is insane. I understand parents wanting their children to do well and have success, but what possesses someone to turn their six year old into a 30 year old overnight?

Lee the Hot Flash Queen said...

Okay, now this is all kinds of wrong! These girls look older than me!!

Brooke said...

They look so sad! Let them just be kids...

It's obviously parents living out their fantasies through their children...

Improbable Joe said...

CREEPY!!!

Renee said...

Seriously, now this I have a problem with. Look at the little girl at the bottoms fingernails. All of it is horrible.

Thanks for showing this.

Love Renee xoxo

Being Brazen said...

This is so wrong. I dont think little girl should dress like that or wear all that make-up. Its really weird and not normal.

great photos though

pixelhazard said...

super creepy

bananas. said...

OMG! these toddlers in tiaras FREAK ME THE F OUT!!! they look so fake and sad and CREEPY!

like that last one just might grow up to kill somebody one day, just sayin. HOLY CRAP she has fake nails on! i'm gonna puke.

Gabby said...

Oh lawdy. I don't think I've ever worn that much makeup.

jillian-anne said...

I feel sorry for the kids that grow up surrounded by that, it's not like they have a choice. In many ways they are exposed to things that they shouldn't have to think about until they are much older. What kind of values do these competitions promote? Sad.

Kim said...

I don't know what to say about child beauty pageants except that it disturbs me immensely. I've tried to watch that show on TLC but I get too angry and have to turn the channel. These poor kids don't have a chance at any sort of normalcy.

Brown Girl said...

I am honestly torn on beauty pageants. I really think that they can do some good for girls that are really struggling with self esteem or identity but I do think some of the parents really take it over the top and to another level. I think they should let the child choose.

Caroline said...

This industry is disturbing to me. Have you seen that show "Toddlers and Tiaras"? So sad to me...mostly it's the Mom's...they are so intense and push these kids so hard to win. It's awful.

Char said...

that show and these children freak me out....and especially those mothers.

i wonder what will happen to these children as they grow older. do they grow up with personality disorders? what if one of them becomes the president?

Yelena R. said...

So creepy! I feel so sad for these kids...i watched that show on TLC and got so mad at the mothers who make their kids do this. So delusional!

Clorivak said...

yikes...these poor little girls. they are losing the one childhood they will ever get. I get enraged watching their mothers on that show too. I bet when they get old they will all be playboy skanks or something to that degree. Its crazy how sexual they have to act and dance when on stage too. I betcha the pedo's aren't complaining...SICK.

Liz said...

This is incredibly sad to me. It's disturbing that a 6 yr old looks older than me. And what the FUCK at that last one with the fake nails. Srsly?!

Jessica said...

Holy shit the aliens have landed and they couldn't be weirder looking if they were little green men. Yikes!

Oh and thanks for the comments about the books. I say win the lottery and mail me all your unwanted books :) lol
But seriously I appreciate it.

Diana said...

I'm sure you have watched Toddlers and Tiaras. I think they are forced to do this and they grow up to think this is okay. It's just doesn't seem right and so many parents are okay with prancing their kid around.

brittany said...

oh wow, their facial expressions say it all...

beautiful photos. but i love the point made in the text about it reflecting american culture and ideals. right on the money. now let's all go get boob jobs.

Alisa said...

Sad

Iva said...

I think being a parent is one of the most difficult jobs in the word, if not THE most difficult. I would hope that the parents{or guardians} of these children are really doing this because they believe it is what is best for their children. However, in my opinion, we live in a society were children are already being asked to grow up far to fast. I just want to slow it down.Slow down please, please. I can only speak for myself, but looking at these little girls, I just see sadness is their eyes, and I do not agree with these pageants. Playing dress up and wanting to wear mommy's heels is one thing, and wanting daughters to feel good about themselves, beautiful, strong, and proud is perfect beyond words, however, it can be done without the makeup, hair, nails, and poses...and should be done, without the excess. Little girls, are just that, little girls.

Alina said...

Why would a woman dress their daughter up hooker is beyond me. Let these kids just be kids.

The Peach Tart said...

This is beyond disturbing.

creative kerfuffle said...

disturbing and sad and wrong. i do not understand the parents behind all of this.

Diane said...

ack!

every single one of those little girls look miserable and empty inside!!! :(

Gabbi said...

Amazing and slightly disturbing. It does seem wrong to put kids through the pageant thing, but at the same time it's such extreme and fascinating subculture. One day it'll be gone and we'll be obsessed with the these photographs...

Gabbi said...
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Kellie said...

Wow. I mean, I know if I were young like them I would love to dress up and put on make up and all that (minus the pagent part) but those finger nails on that one girl? That is a whole new level. The things they do to these girls is ridiculously effed up.

Carlotta said...

scary very scary thanx GOd here in Italy it's not accetable, our pageants must be at 16 and up..

Elizabeth Marie said...

This saddens me, and creeps me the eff out. Playing dress up is one thing. Using your daughters as a meal ticket by making them look like 18 year olds is wrong. And fake nails are (almost) never ok, no matter the age.

K love you bai

Charlene said...

Ok, I'm not against child beauty pagents, but I think this is way to far overboard. I'm ok with ones we had back in the day, where sure you wore a little makeup and a big fluffy dress, but you parents did you hair and it wasn't all "Mrs. American" for little girls. it was a beauty pagent. No swimsuits, no dress changes...just walking out, standing on the X and smiling. That's it. This is crazy.

Charlene said...

And fake teeth really?

Kaz said...

There is such a sad look in their eyes

bearer of three said...

the biggest thing i dont like about pagents is all the make up and fake hair..i feel like let the kids be kids they dont have many years to be kids but they have a whole lots of years to be adults..

Simply Mel said...

This makes me want to vomit...these sweet little innocent girls playing out their mother's 'dreams'! So sad...

Alicia said...

creeeeepy! i'd snuggle with chucky before one of these little girls! yikes! and they don't even look happy....poor girls, that's not a childhood....

♥Aubrey said...

These girls have taken dress-up to a new...EXTREME level that's Ooo Soo WRONG!!! Sad, but it reminds me of Jon Benet. I was a pageant child, but NEVER would i subjected to this. Let kids be kids.

TERI REES WANG said...

Does she scream for Jesus?

blueviolet said...

Oh hell no. Why would I want to look at that in a book?

Waxy said...

This stuff creeps me out...

Dream Sequins said...

OMG. Girl pageants really creep me out. That last pic looks especially Bible Belt crazy!

down and out chic said...

AHHHmazing work. so poignant. i definitely want that book (ummm, hello, perfect conversation starter!)
your choices for artists are brilliant.

Felicia|DaLipstickBandit said...

They all look sad and kind of creepy in a human doll type of way.

Felicia|DaLipstickBandit said...

They all look sad and kind of creepy in a human doll type of way.

Katie said...

So wrong! Stage Mums make me sick!
Your daughter is not a doll!!!!!
Is it wrong that I take out my daughter and leave my fat son at home?! I only take him to buffets where I know I will get my monies worth

x

Kelly said...

I can't lie...I sometimes watch toddlers & tiarras on tlc...Have you ever seen the parents?????? Crazy shit.

diane said...

People need to re-adjust their values because their children are suffering.

WendyB said...

Clearly I'm going to hell, because I love these disturbing pictures!

Sam said...

This reminds me of that poor little girl that was beaten and murdered - can't remember her name - famous....anyway - this is sooo not my cup of tea - the act itself although I appreciate the photos themselves. Utter madness IMO.

anotherfishinthesea said...

your write up on the whole thing was mega interesting, but i still feel terrible for the children. it seems like a little bit of happy, messy childhood is stolen from them. :(

alissa said...

creepiest post ever. that girls fingernails...i cant get over it.

LENORENEVERMORE said...

I want a tiara now!!

thereddeer said...

It is horrible - why would you do that to your daughter??

They look awful and that last one with the fake nails looks plain evil.

Chessa! said...

this COMPLETELY freaks me out.

jennifer from pittsburgh said...

Little Miss Sunshine this aint :( Art does need to reflect us, but this is one creep ass aspect.

kyslp said...

Ugh. They look like creepy soul-less dolls. Like something out of a horror movie. Pagent kids who, through mind-control from the evil pagent director or bitter stage mom
(haven't worked out the details, obv. go on a torture and killing spree.

E said...

Seriously, how do you know what my nightmares look like? You might as well go ahead and feature Candy Spelling's doll room and be done with it.

Girl Japan: April Marie said...

I agree..that is ALL KINDS OF WRONGS.....

ticklishfromadistance said...

Feels wrong. Just off.

Jill said...

The last pic looks like she's contemplating blowing up her Barbie Malibu Beach House on Independence Day!

...love Maegan said...

omg I LAUGHED OUT LOUD ...and slowly, they got more and more sad....and then the last one ..with the NAILS!! I mean, these shots are amazing ...I just wonder how and why parents do this to their poor little girls.

E.K. said...

They look like the House of Wax...creepy!

chloe said...

awful, i've seen a few reality-type shows about baby pageants and they are quite disturbing. i feel like a peadophile just watching them!..
and the moms are the worst, there was one little girl (perhaps 2 yrs old?) crying & screaming backstage but the mother still dragged her out to pose for the judges. the f***ed-up thing was that as soon as she got on stage, she was sugar-sweet and smiley only to start her tantrum up again once she left the spotlights. something is already going seriously wrong there..

the paris house said...

Mel said it perfectly!! What ever happened to just taking your kid to a piano recital and taking a few pictures!!!

the paris house said...

Oh BTW, our blog moved to www.theparishouse.com and we are doing a $50 giveaway in our boutique, stop by if you have time
Bunny

Hanako66 said...

that is powerful work

Sher said...

At least these parents didn't do what Brook Shields mother did to her at 10yrs old.

http://animalnewyork.com/2009/10/young-brooke-shields-nude-pic-pulled-from-tate-modern-exhibit/

Kristin said...

Thanks for your sweet words yesterday and that stuff is SO disturbing. I always threaten to put the dude in a baby pageant to torture the hubs. He threatens divorce. Ah ha

clarewbrown said...

this stuff freaks me out SOOOO badly, ugh, I can't stand it really.

Ama Livia Reynolds said...

tttttterrifying. i thought after jon-benet ramsey, people wouldn't be so wont to dress their kids up like little adults. scary little adults. but the photos are fascinating.

Vivienne said...

Child exploitation at its finest! Those parents ought to be forcibly sterilized.
(There's something super sinister and scary about Patriotic Baby at the end...)

Missy said...

This is so horribly wrong!

Jennifer DeDonato said...

That is NOT ok...yuck! The little girl in the last picture has fake nails on!