Korean Recovery Room Portraits

May 24, 2013 | Marina Galperina

South Korea has the highest rate of plastic surgery per capita than anywhere else in the world. Plastic surgery has become not just the norm but “integral” to the so-called self-improvement process. Artist Ji Yeo notes pinpoints the source.

It is a culture where men are judged on their financial balance sheet and women by their beauty. The male-dominated media endlessly reinforces its model of the ideal woman.

As a result, there is a stark, surreal homogeny in said ideal, as illustrated in this gif Reddit made of Miss Korea 2013 contestants.

But beyond the gifs are these bandaged women with wounded bodies, surgical bruises, hopping under and out of general anesthesia just to plan more multiple procedures, sprouting medical hose that drains and pumps blood and puss in and out of their bodies, healing just to get rearranged again. Here are their portraits — right after the surgeries — taken by Ji Yeo in the Beauty Recovery Room.