What Does Red Lipstick Mean to You?

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Red lipstick is at once iconic and controversial. Photographer Michael Angelo was inspired by its power to both liberate and objectify — the former as a tool of beautification and empowerment, the latter, more specifically, as an instrument of sexual slavery in countries like Cambodia, where young prostitutes are forced to wear the color on their lips. To give voice to this injustice, the artist has created "The Lipstick Portraits," a series of 65 photographs including red-lipped celebrities like Dita Von Teese and Susan Sarandon in an exhibition designed to bring attention to the nonprofit organization Somaly Mam Foundation, a group working to abolish the trafficking of women and girls for sex work. It opens today at the 401 Projects gallery in NYC. For more information, check out The Lipstick Portraits online.