Beauty, Horror and the Terror of Life

Chris McAuliffe

“Do I look all right?” Nick Cave asks the photographer. Professional obligation prompts the question; the lens is his cue to deliver indie-rock-god. There’s a part to be played, however contrived he finds it.

“Do I look alright?” Actually, under the circumstances, it’s a legitimate question. Cave is sporting an electric blue wig and a matching dress. His head has been squeezed into a stocking. A crude lipstick mouth has been scrawled across his crushed features. The Joker meets Sailor Moon.

“You look beautiful”, Polly Borland reassures him.

Really? Beautiful? “I think my work is ugly but beautiful at the same time”, says Borland. “There are two contradictory elements. I surround myself with what I consider to be beautiful things but I don’t think my work is beautiful. I think technically, it’s beautiful. The way I photograph things is beautiful. But I don’t think the subject matter or the content is beautiful.”


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Portrait & Styling John Tsiavis