Photographer Raj Khepar set out to highlight the excessive use of post production on beauty photographs by editing beauty portraits to the level where they show no facial features.
The results of his Synthetic Beauty series are quite eerie and disturbing.
I asked Raj about his inspiration for the project:
I used a process called frequency separation to remove the features on the faces, the same process used in high end retouching, and took it to an extreme. I was hoping to show how far the technique can be taken, and the unobtainable depictions of people it can create. Aziz and Cucher had done work that closely relates this, although their work was far less about the digital and far more sculptural in execution but was a big influence
The post production consisted of using frequency separation, this works by separating skin tones from skin texture for quick and accurate editing, this allowed me to remove the features, but keep the texture of the skin. For allot of the skin tones I literally just used the paint brush tool sampling the skin.. Some shaping had to be done, as once you remove the features people’s heads begin to look quite unnaturally shaped! The rest is global color toning, dodging and burning and that’s about it!
The rest of the series puts you in the same uneasy feeling.
Here is a glimpse of a typical lighting setup Raj used.
[Synthetic Beauty | Raj Khepar]