“Susan Anderson’s pictures are straight shots, mostly head-and-shoulders portraits of little girls (as young as 4) in their competitive finery. The special effects have all been put to work earlier, in readying the kids for their moment before the judges – and the camera. Artifice runs so high it verges on the grotesque. “Little Miss Sunshine” has been bested by Little Miss Spray Tan.”
“Anderson, a commercial photographer specializing in portraiture and fashion, traveled to beauty pageant sites around the country for the last three years, shooting the girls in portable studios, against pastel backgrounds glimmering with paparazzi-flash bursts of light. Her clean, slick style suits the subjects; nothing distracts from the human spectacle.”
“Though Anderson invites the subjects to pose themselves and says she intervenes only minimally, that doesn’t mean the girls look natural or relaxed. Competition has expunged the natural from their vocabulary of behavior and appearance. Image is all, and whatever it takes to achieve the “High Glitz” look these competitions favor is fair game: false fingernails, brilliant white veneers on the teeth, makeup to turn an already smooth cheek into a surface of flawless – and frightening — uniformity.”
Susan Andersons Book High Glitz is avaiable from PowerHouse. If you dare.