Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder? Or the Holder of the Scalpel?

With modern medicine able to turn men into women, women into men, and Octomom into Angelina Jolie, it’s not just our chins, chests, buttocks, and eyelids changing. But also our concept of beauty. You could argue that cosmetic surgery’s goal is to make human begins more attractive. (Yes, there are surgery aficionados who use it for other purposes.) But invariably, when a rhinoplasty goes awry, or calf implants are bungled, a tummy tuck botched, and a face lift too tight, we’re left with persons who are not conventionally beautiful. But are they still, well, beautiful?

British photographer Phillip Toledano takes us on that journey here, and it is riveting.

Is self-professed plastic surgery addict Steve Erhardt — who’s had over 40 procedures and spent more than a quarter million dollars — beautiful? Is he disfigured? Somewhere in between?

This post isn’t an opportunity to call people “ugly.” “Ugly” is a terribly ugly word. But every day we spot more folks at Starbucks, the gym, sitting in traffic, who are obviously not entirely creatures of God. A nose too upturned. A forehead too taut for one’s age. Breasts that are twice the circumference as the woman’s waist. All efforts by these individuals to make themselves more beautiful. To themselves? To us? To their creator?

(h/t to the nine people who sent us this link)