Books I recommend:
History of Beauty by Umberto Eco – Umberto Eco’s pair of books on beauty and ugliness are an essential primer to studying beauty through the lens of art history and philosophy. I can’t recommend them highly enough.
On Ugliness by Umberto Eco – The second in Umberto Eco’s series. Very well researched.
Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing by Margaret Livingstone – Not as dry a read as you might fear. It really gets into the science of how we visually perceive things and manages to stay entertaining.
Clean: A History of Personal Hygiene and Purity by Virginia Smith – Fascinating read, though I have to be honest, it gets a little dry at times. Worth it for the huge amount of historical insight into the cosmetic standards and rituals of our ancestors.
The Lipstick Proviso by Karen Lehrman – A certain kind of feminist approach to a number of topics, including beauty standards and the media. fair warning: this one is pretty controversial. I can’t say that I agree with everything in it, but I found it thought provoking nonetheless.
Art and Fear by David Bayles & Ted Orland – an absolute must read for any type of artist.
The Art of Persuasion: A History of Advertising Photography by Robert A Sobieszek – I really wish they would update this book. The narrative ends in the 1980’s, but it’s great. The history starts in 1865.
The Artist’s Complete Guide to Facial Expression by Gary Faigin – Great anatomy primer for the face. Retouchers need to understand facial anatomy and how their work affects expression.
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