Photographer Susan Anderson took a series of absolutely surreal portraits of young children participating in beauty pagents. She compiled the work in a book, High Glitz: The Extravagant World of Child Pageants. You can view many of the images on Anderson's site as well. (Or, right now at the Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles.) From the powerHouse Books site:
"High Glitz" is a subgenre of child beauty pageants characterized by couture "glitz" costumes and a broad array of cosmetic preparations including, among other tricks of the trade: glamour makeup, elaborate hairstyles, and "flippers" (false front teeth veneers). Anderson's stunning visuals are complimented by a "High Glitz Style Guide," defining and providing examples of the following categories: Beauty/ Formal Wear, Western Wear, Sportswear, and Swimwear, with a special section on hairstyles such as the "Barbie" and the "Up-do."High Glitz: The Extravagant World of Child Pageants (Amazon, thanks Bob Pescovitz!)
Each year as many as 100,000 children under the age of 12 participate in U.S. child beauty pageants, and it has recently become a billion-dollar industry. Parents invest thousands of dollars on costumes and private coaches to give their children a competitive edge. Countless hours are spent by professional hair and makeup artists on each child in preparation for the competition. The girls are spray-tanned, made-up, and groomed to a glossy perfection. Anderson captures the results of this time-consuming transformation process in exquisite detail.
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.