Beauty standards change over time, but a constant seems to be how "beauty" is merely one more outward sign of status and wealth. For example, in the past, curvaceousness was popular—enviable—because it was a sign of one's wealth. In North Korea, this is still the case. But on the other side of the border, things have changed. In Seoul, the aesthetic surgery industry has boomed. These days, one way to show off wealth is through (expensive) plastic surgery.

In Seoul, social pressure can be felt in almost every part of life. From getting into the best schools, to landing a good job, to finding a man and to having a wealthy life, there is never a moment's peace. People are competing with each other all the time. And of course, beauty plays a key part in this competition. In Seoul, a picture on your school or job application is a must. Girls get nose jobs as a graduation gift in order to get a better job.

But things have gotten out of hand. The average person is competing against an impossible standard. The ideals—K-pop and television stars—are not natural looking people. How are people supposed to keep up?

—Maroesjka Lavigne


Exhibition of all 50 LensCulture Emerging Talents: Barcelona, October 13-31

Maroesjka Lavigne's work, along with photographs from ALL the LensCulture Emerging Talents will be shown in an exhibition at the Galeria Valid Foto in Barcelona. Please join us for the opening party on October 13, 2014—we hope to see you there! See a preview of ALL the winners here in LensCulture.

ALL winners have already been featured at photo festival screenings in Dublin, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Tokyo and Amsterdam so far this year. Next screening in Korea at the
Seoul Lunar Photo Fest.