ART + CULTURE: Rebecca Drolen examines our contradictory beauty ideals in relation to hair
Images: Rebecca Drolen
Words: Emma de Clercq
Hair Pieces examines the fine line between hair which is seen as desirable, and hair which is seen as shameful or repulsive. As photographer Rebecca Drolen explains, “it can be a symbol of beauty, sexuality and strength, both contemporarily and historically. But there is a second side to hair that we find grotesque or shameful. We have rituals of removal and hiding of hair, it is a struggle that masses participate in. Yet the hair always returns.”
In the surreal set-ups, hair creeps and pours from everywhere. It is comically exaggerated and grotesquely amplified in Wet Look, featuring a woman with long, matted underarm hair, drenched in sweat. With her tongue-in-cheek imagery, Drolen seeks to observe, then subvert, our beauty ideals in relation to hair. One example is the desire for longer eyelashes, which she notes that society views as “a marker of beauty – there are thousands of products that support this beauty standard. But at what point can lashes be too long and cross over to being terrifying?” Her response to this question is Longer Lashes, depicting a futile attempt at curling monstrously elongated, drooping eyelashes. Equal parts comedy and nightmare, Hair Pieces is a perfect reflection of our eternal love/hate relationship with our hair.