the naked truth about beautiful people

Hello world,

We entered the room with brownies & wine and started the discussion…

{Well, it seems today that we surround ourselves with, well… ourselves. Whether on a social network or in front of a mirror, we continually strive to be the prettiest, most popular or hit the all important fame status. We crave to look like or act like others we see on any number of media bombs. Movies, TV, magazines or the web flash images every second of what we perceive as more interesting, popular or beautiful people. Heck, if I were to say I wouldn’t want to look like George Clooney I would be a big ‘ole liar. But at the same time I would say that I am pretty happy I don’t act like Tom Cruise! I’m not sayin’ he acts badly, maybe its just the way the media depicts him. Maybe…

She wants to look like the magazine covers that she continually sees.

She grew up with Barbie and is sure she was perfect in every way.

She is not happy with her self image.

Who is this person looking back in the mirror?

She is unsure of herself but willing to be put on a mask and wear confidence.

She hates the way she looks so much she shatters every mirror in sight.

She wears a facade painted with what she thinks others want to see.

Whether its beauty creams, surgical procedures, diet pills, she finds herself naked in the world without them.}

This was some of the dialog from a brainstorming session with the players from this shoot. Some made perfect sense; others, nonsense. Either way these images were born from this dialog. This was a creative collaboration between talented friends to see what would happen. I dig what happened.

Beauty is and will always be, in the eye of the beholder and art is very subjective.

©, asheville editorial photographer ©, asheville fashion photographer ©, asheville editorial photographer ©, asheville fashion photographer ©, asheville editorial photographer ©, asheville fashion photographer ©, asheville fashion photographer ©, asheville editorial photographer ©, asheville editorial photographer


“the naked truth about beautiful people” A short editorial by:

Parker J Pfister (photographer)

Katie Manselle (hair stylist)

r.Brooke Priddy (paper dress/set stylist) Just side note, the dresses were made on the spot with torn magazine pages by r.Brooke Priddy. Pretty amazing to watch the transformation.

Scott Thompson (Make up artist)

Neriah Vasbinder (model)

Sarah Snyder (model)


Keep on clickin’

Parker J



From the top101,109,97,105,108,32,109,101em liame
  • Eleanor Simmons - July 15, 2013 - 1:25 pm

    This is outstanding! Beautiful work, talented team…ReplyCancel

  • Erika Brodland - July 15, 2013 - 1:38 pm

    Super cool! I love the paper doll concept. Very fashion forward 😉ReplyCancel

  • Richard Israel - July 15, 2013 - 2:27 pm

    Fabulous photographs Parker as per usual and a huge amen to your essay.ReplyCancel

  • Jill - July 15, 2013 - 3:44 pm

    Most importantly I am always in awe of you, Parker. I was moved by your project concept (and related to it too, I guess). But article vs images I was let down. I was disappointed these images were of utterly perfect women. I was expecting some truth – real people – in the photographs. Hoping to reveal the deep and truthful beauty in imperfect subjects. -Tis all.ReplyCancel

    • Parker J Pfister - July 15, 2013 - 4:00 pm

      Hey Jill,
      Thank you for your comments and kind words! At the time I really couldn’t have agreed more. Unfortunately I didn’t get to pick the models. But keep in mind”Utterly perfect” is also, like art, very subjective. So I went with it. I thought, no matter how imperfect of person I could find there will always be someone that thinks they are more perfect than they perceive themselves. I think that is some of the point here too. But rest assured next time I will make sure if they come in too pretty I’ll just stand in and take my clothes off! YIKES! Now there is truth! Really, thank you so much for your comment and opinions! It is rare now days to get good constructive criticism. With only a thumbs up on FB we all live in a false world. Have a great day!
      Parker JReplyCancel

  • Sophicide - July 15, 2013 - 8:11 pm

    After reading the comments I feel compelled to thank Jill for having the courage to write her constructive critique. I too am a huge fan of your work, and although I enjoyed the images very much from an artistic and technical standpoint, I felt the same disconnect between the article and what was represented visually. Even through the styling (although impressive and beautiful to the extreme) there seemed to be no “ugly-pretty” expressed (I seriously would wear either of those dresses out!). .. no sense of the pain and turmoil that exists inside a woman (or man) who deals w this inner struggle on a daily basis. I am glad that you chose to address the issue of self-image and the pursuit of perfection for it is one that I have struggled w for as long as I can remember. However I must admit that after viewing the images, I too was left feeling a little more alienated rather than liberated. I say this with deepest respect and admiration.ReplyCancel

  • Brie - July 15, 2013 - 8:47 pm

    Perfectly beautiful women with perfect makeup in perfectly placed designer paper… Missing the concept here. Also, as a female artist who approaches this matter time and time again, it’s agitating to see a male address this in such a manner. Gorgeous photos, you are a talent technically, but I’m missing the connection just as Jill is.ReplyCancel

    • Parker J Pfister - July 16, 2013 - 9:41 am

      Hey Brie & Sophicide,
      I am so happy that you commented and I respect you and the others highly for having a voice!!That is what art or /and photography is all about. It is supposed to push buttons, it’s supposed to stir emotions.I will however say that some major points were missed by you and others.
      The title was”The naked truth about beautiful people” Not “The naked truth about everyday people that think they need to be as pretty as a super model they saw on a magazine cover” It isn’t supposed to convey that this is about the age old coverage of “I’m not as pretty” or “I can’t compete or be as pretty as…” , rather, it was about people that KNOW that they are beautiful and the pressures of maintaining that. Whether it be for their modeling career, acting career, social status or their significant other.
      After all, I did put at the bottom that this was a “fictional editorial”. This in fact Was meant to be slightly tongue in cheek. These girls were indeed quite photogenic and attractive. Scott intentionally made their makeup perfect. Brooke intentionally made their paper dresses perfect. (and yes they would be amazing to wear out) and Amanda intentionally made their hairstyle very fashion forward and I intentionally made the most flattering light and angle that I could. That was the point. That no matter how perfect they had become that it is never enough. SO I would ask you to please read it AND view it again and try to see it the way it was intended. Again Thank you SO much for your comment. Images SHOULD say something and if they don’t get talked about they are a failure. Beauty is and will always be, in the eye of the beholder and art is very subjective. But no matter how beautiful you become it will probably never be enough. THAT was the point of THIS “fictional editorial”.ReplyCancel

  • Ruth Anne - July 16, 2013 - 10:27 am

    I want to make a comment. My daughter is one of the “beautiful” models in this remarkable photography. I remember the day these shoots were made. She was exhausted but she enjoyed. If anything Parker has hit this right on.
    My daughter has fought the market on modeling. She has been tormented by weight, acne, hair issues, and too short. So much that I have seen her not eat, cry, and hear rude remarks by her agency, some photographers, and even her peers. She would be super thin but too fat. She wasnt tall enough to walk the runway. She wasnt pretty enough for a certain magazine. Jealous girls in school asking her why she was a model because they surely didnt think she was pretty. She was a happy girl, that had so much self esteem and so much beauty to light up a room. I watched the modeling world take away that high self esteem. She would look into mirrors and see all her flaws. She would look at magazines and wish she had something the model had. She used to say ” I am going to be famous one day, Mom……” and now the constant critism of the modeling world for perfection has shattered her dream (basically shattered her mirrors) My conclusion to this is that everyone is the same on the inside. Doesnt matter what our outside looks like (thin, fat, perfect, not beautiful, acne, perfect nose). Most of us have that desire to be the beautiful people. This is the naked truth!ReplyCancel

    • Parker J Pfister - July 16, 2013 - 10:46 am

      This post just got very personal. Thank you so much for your comment Ruth Anne. It is sad that Neriah has and is going through this. This was the exact point we were trying to make. No matter how far you go it is never enough. Such is true an many of life’s experiences. Neriah was Neriah. THAT is all that mattered!ReplyCancel

  • Ruth Anne - July 16, 2013 - 11:07 am

    I am Neriahs biggest supporter. She can be a tattoo artist, a doctor, lawyer, ambulance driver, artist, or a model. I am learning about building a thicker skin and teaching it to her. She has so much beauty in all forms, which you have caught in her pics. She knows all that is still in her. Growing up is teaching her so much……Its her insides that make her so beautiful. : ) Beautiful on the inside makes you beautiful on the outside. And when my darling daughter Neriah said she is going to be famous. “You betcha” She is going to be famous. : )ReplyCancel

  • Rachel Shomsky - July 16, 2013 - 12:09 pm

    For those of you that want to see an “imperfect” women pose…. Parker I’ll be available for the next paper dress shoot. I don’t know why anyone has to assume that skinny women are perfect, isn’t that the whole point? That weight cannot make you happy? Love the images, love the mood, love that you are bringing this to light.ReplyCancel

  • Elena Joseph - July 16, 2013 - 7:12 pm

    Truly amazing work, my friend! You are such an inspiration in a copy cat kind of world. You are fresh and your work is always yours; original. I also love the subject matter and discussion you’ve sparked. I’m not sure some of your fans get what you are trying to convey. I do, and it’s beautiful.ReplyCancel

  • Brooke - July 17, 2013 - 8:24 am

    Just a quick word from a creative contributor to this project .. We endeavored to sketch a fictional story about the personal struggles of two young women that felt burdened by the pressures of media and pop culture. Many of the contributors are women that identify with this experience. Bravo to Parker for going out on a limb to delve into this subject matter with us. Certainly provocative!

  • Sophicide - July 17, 2013 - 1:12 pm

    Thank you Ruth Anne for your revealing comment. Parker and Brooke, I think I had missed your intended point of this editorial. People who know they are beautiful dealing w the pressures of. Interesting. That brings a totally different dimension to the work. …and again, great job on stirring up a provocative issue! :)ReplyCancel

    • Parker J Pfister - July 17, 2013 - 2:32 pm

      Thank you so much for taking another look at the work Sophicide! Yes, it is a completely different angle on a touchy subject…ReplyCancel

  • JD - July 17, 2013 - 1:52 pm

    Wow! Beautiful people! Especially my best friend Neriah! Keep it up love!ReplyCancel

  • Carla Ten Eyck - July 18, 2013 - 4:38 pm

    Very interesting body of work, but paired with these comments, it’s even better. At first glance, yes I see what others saw- a ‘beautiful and perfect woman’ who feels not so beautiful project… To many normally beautiful women, I can see them rolling their eyes and thinking ‘poor pretty girl doesn’t think she’s pretty. get over it’ I have to say, as a photographer who works with models a lot, I see this ALL THE TIME. It makes me so incredibly sad to hear and see. As a bigger woman with more self confidence than I know what to do with this frustrates me to see and hear. But instead of having little patience I can see these women held to a higher standard because of our industry. I see them get poked and prodded and judged by their boob size, or their chin or their ears. They become objects to agents, photographers, stylists, clients.
    I say, screw that. When they are in front of my camera they feel beautiful and energized and happy and competent. I see them stand taller, laugh louder and just feel great.
    Kudos to you Parker for taking on a project like this. I think it’s relevant and important and photographers like you help draw attention to this type of stuff in the right way. With a respectful approach and an honest and open dialogue.
    great shoot everyone!ReplyCancel

  • Ron Ogle - July 19, 2013 - 10:38 am

    One of American photographers’ 20 largest egos.ReplyCancel

    • Parker J Pfister - July 19, 2013 - 10:49 am

      Hi Ron,
      I have to start by saying that I love your work. Beautiful and arresting.
      I will say I’m not crazy about your comment but everyone has a right to free thought and speech.
      I would love to get some feedback as to why I have made your top 20 ego list.
      I don’t think you know me so I am gathering that you came to this conclusion by way of the internet.
      I truly would love the feedback.
      Have a wonderous day!ReplyCancel

  • kristi - August 7, 2013 - 12:56 pm

    Beautiful neriah!!!! Parker, I am so glad to see that you worked with the stunning Neriah on this…..I took her very first images when she was just trying to get started. she is a sweet girl.
    Wonderful project. as always thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Ron Ogle - August 9, 2013 - 10:51 am

    You don’t have a large ego ? “One of the top 20 most influential photographers” ?ReplyCancel

    • Parker J Pfister - August 9, 2013 - 11:43 am

      Hi Ron,
      No I really don’t feel that I do. Maybe even a dangerously low ego.
      There are several quotes form publications on my site.
      The one you have brought into question came from a book that was published several years back and the
      photographers in it from all over the world were said to be the 20 most influential photographers of the time.
      I was one of those 20. How is that having a large ego?
      I feel if I had a large ego I wouldn’t even bother with your negative comments.
      Thanks for bringing this up though. It is a great life lesson for all.
      BTW, I still love your paintings.
      Parker JReplyCancel

  • Tania - August 15, 2013 - 12:41 am

    You.are.amazing!!!! You deserve your place on the top 20!ReplyCancel

  • laila - September 9, 2013 - 11:36 am

    beautifully written. striking photos.
    interesting comments here.
    keep up the ego.
    i love coming across such touching collaboratins.ReplyCancel

  • Parker J Pfister - July 17, 2013 - 10:51 am

    Hey Keith,
    Thank you for your comments! Again… “Fictional editorial”.

    Have you ever been in a think tank? a brainstorming session? “We” is a place we (the group) try to put ourselves and focus through our subject at hand. “We” in this case are the models, actors, socially elite, etc. I know that the vast majority “don’t give a shit” about them. THAT IS THE POINT OF THIS STORY”. Well done pointing that out. Thank you.

    you stated…”truly if read properly. your title… “the naked truth about beautiful people” ??? it suggests that there are some people who are beautiful and some who are not … this was/is your first mistake …” end quote
    Yes this is true.There are beautiful people and those that are not! It mostly radiates from within though…mostly. As I said before, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and art is very subjective”. You as a painter should know and live this.

    Again, thank you for the comments and by the way I love what you do with paint.

    “you wrote: “Well, it seems today that we surround ourselves with, well… ourselves. Whether on a social network or in front of a mirror, we continually strive to be the prettiest, most popular or hit the all important fame status”

    ….. there are so many problems… with all of this.. but one of the first’s is the overall bubble someone like yourself seems to be in.. this statement that WE continually strive to be the prettiest etc. is absurd.. there are millions of people who don’t give a shit.. who do other things.. who are starving.. who have never even seen a camera.. and then.. lets just talk about your industry period.. this continual raising of the (illusion) bar.. so everybody suffers.. (theres not much art left in fashion.. beauty is important.. and the figure. etc.. but what are we to do when we are bombarded with the female form in every tantalizing way possible.. how does this help? the only problem here is you sir.. like all the other fast track get quick highs.. the lust game.. and its industry is the mouse wheel your on.. not sure. who wins? but i know a lot of people who lose… young girls, young boys, married men, hurt men, angry men, most all women … the unattractive … the list is ad nauseum perhaps if you had a whole bunch of children to feed.. then i could see some justification.. we all got to eat?

    truly if read properly. your title… “the naked truth about beautiful people” ??? it suggests that there are some people who are beautiful and some who are not … this was/is your first mistake …

    the real art here is the one you’re not aware of. the one that perhaps calls you to attempt such stunts in the first place.. that is, the one the hates himself.. or thinks he’s not good enough.. this is the only purpose for this art.. to ask forgiveness for this”ReplyCancel

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