Valerie Philips New Book Introduces New Kind Of Beauty

Photographer Valerie Philips and model/photographer/ and cyber princess Arvida Bystrom’s love of all things child like and girlish is absolutely apparent in their photo book “Hi, you are beautiful, how are you?”. The book itself shows Arvida in all manner of My Little Pony Stickers, pastel colored hair and Vans skater sneakers but its not the aura of youth that draws you into the project. It’s the simplicity of it. Wearing little to no makeup in the shots, Arvida’s beauty comes through in a way rarely seen in human photography. Undecorated except for the occasional sequin, “Hi, you are beautiful” celebrates Arvida’s innocent brand of beauty and brings out the youthful joy in all who see it.

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“I present my version of her life, but not so that it becomes fantasy. I guess in some ways the book is about both of us.” Says Valerie of photographing Arvida

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“It’s important for me to put work out into the world, undiluted. Unencumbered by a conservative media trying to present everything, especially women, as a neatly packaged visual sound bite, like a .jpeg. A middle-of-the-road version of a much more interesting and complicated phenomenon.”

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“It’s fascinating and more than a little depressing that in most fashion editorial and advertising, it’s taboo to show any kind of real humanity or sexuality. Why are people so scared of and/or repulsed by real life?”

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“I feel very connected to the things that influenced me growing up, and it would be impossible for those things I loved as a kid, not to seamlessly enter my pictures since they are still many of the same things – outer space, skate culture, zines, punk, outsider art, stickers, horses.”

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“I recently saw some comments on Facebook, accusing me of “playing a dangerous game with work like this”, and describing my pictures of Arvida – a grown up woman in her early 20s – as “sexually stereotyping young girls”. It’s insane. All this can be traced back to me showing a woman with little make up, unwaxed, occasionally unwashed, leading an interesting life, not in clothing sanctioned by the producers of daytime television.

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