What is beauty?

What is beauty?

Yesterday I visited the National Museum in Bradford to see an exhibition called in your face (# yourfaceisace). It is a very interactive experience suitable for a broad range of ages and runs until 30 October 2016.


I found it particularly thought-provoking and afterwards in a true teacher geek way I thought about ways in which I could use this exhibition as inspiration for a PSHE or tutor based lesson.

The “What is beauty ?” section of this exhibition really drew me in. This part was based on the work of a journalist called Esther Honig, a project called “Before and After”. Honig sent her photograph to 50 photos editors around the world asking them to make her beautiful. The original photo and the 50 other photos were displayed in the National Museum.

I sat for quite a while staring at the images in front of me trying to make sense of them, trying to decide which photo portrayed beauty or which one I preferred. An employee from the museum approached me and asked me which photo I preferred but I struggled to pinpoint one as I was so amazed at the variations and differences in the photos displayed in front of me. The employee confidently explained that she preferred the original photo, the photo that remained untouched or photo-shopped.

The others seen Esther Honig change in many ways, variations in hair colour, shapes of eyebrows, cheekbones, glaring eyeshadow, altered eye colour etc.

After leaving I continued to think about how different countries in the world define or illustrate what beauty is. I went online to read more about Honig’s work and watched clips from her website and her Ted talk. In this talk she explain how her “Before and After ” project doesn’t define beauty but what it does do is start “a global conversation” about what beauty is.

So with that in mind I will share the links to her work in case other teachers would like to start a conversation in their classrooms. It will certainly help pupils to think, reflect
and discuss the concept of beauty.

Here are some links:


Feel free to comment or email me at foodandhealthteacher@hotmail.com if you would like to discuss this blog further.

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