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Thought-Provoking Nude Photos That Challenge Conventional Ideas About Attractiveness [NSFW]

The media would have us believe that “attractive” and “unattractive” are fixed categories, and that all of humanity can be neatly sorted into one or the other. In practice, of course, beauty isn’t even a continuum; it is, as the cliché goes, in the eye of the beholder. And the images we see in mass culture of supposedly attractive people are made-up and coiffed and Photoshopped to the extent that they often barely resemble their subjects.

Gracie Hagen dramatizes the effects of these narrow, manipulated depictions of humanity in a brilliant, deceptively simple series of side-by-side nude portraits titled Illusions of the Body. “Most of us realize that the media displays only the prettiest photos of people, yet we compare ourselves to those images. We never get to see those photos juxtaposed against a picture of that same person looking unflattering,” Hagen writes. “That contrast would help a lot of body image issues we as a culture have.” See a selection of pictures from the series (spotted via Beautiful/Decay) below, and visit Hagen’s Tumblr to see the rest.

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Photo credit: Gracie Hagen

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