Love Me explores the insidious power of the global beauty industry and our collective insecurity, vanity and fear of ageing.
In a series of compelling images which lodge firmly in our consciousness, Love Me negotiates the boundaries of art and documentary, reflecting a world we have created in which there are enormous social, psychological and economic rewards and penalties attached to the way we look.
Over a period of five years Zed Nelson visited seventeen countries across five continents. In Love Me we meet cosmetic surgeons, anorexics, child beauty queens, bodybuilders, trainee models, housewives, porn stars, businessmen and soldiers signing up for breast implants.
Whilst Nelson’s subjects appear willing participants in an omnipresent culture of bodily improvement, they are also hapless victims at the mercy of larger social forces and locked into their insatiable craving for approval.
While the subject are exposed, so too are we the viewer; our motives for looking, for inspecting, along with uncomfortable reminders of our own vanities, insecurities and pretensions.
Love Me is Zed Nelson’s second book, and has been short-listed for the Leica European Publishers Award for Photography.
“From sexed up teenage club-hoppers, to prison beauty queens, to a brilliantly curated Alain de Botton quote, the book is a cover-to-cover gem that explores, with superb creative direction and a merciless confrontation with superficiality, the most uncomfortable fringes of cultural anthropology.”
Maria Popova, brainpickings.org
“As Zed Nelson’s magnificent Love Me shows, our Western ideas of beauty have permeated around the globe. Love Me is is a benchmark photography book. A highly recommended read.”
Joerg Colberg, Conscientious blog