Fascinating Photos of Beauty Queens from Around the World

For five years, photographer Zed Nelson traveled around the world investigating beauty — “a $160 billion-a-year global industry.” With plastic surgery and beauty pageants simultaneously on the rise everywhere, these shots of pageant winners are just one part of his incredible project Love Me, along with hyperventilating muscle men, beauty advertisements assaulting urban landscapes, and extremely graphic photographs of surgery. But first, look at all the lovely girls — from South Africa to Texas, from Brazilian jails to Moscow’s atomic energy agencies. It’s insightful, mesmerizing and… quite a bit overwhelming, even without the mid-surgery slabs of bleeding skin that can be found in his other work. What do you think?

Photo credit: Zed Nelson. Katie, age 9. Winner. Universal Royalty Texas State Pageant