In a world obsessed with beauty, living with a facial disfigurement can be hard. Neil Steinberg explores the past and present to find out what it’s like to look different.
“Take your ear off for me, please,” Rosie Seelaus says to Randy James, who is sitting on a black exam chair in a special room designed for viewing colours in the Craniofacial Center on the Near West Side of Chicago.
He reaches up and detaches his right ear, which she created for him out of silicone seven years before. The ear is shabby, stained from skin oil and mottled by daily use. Viewed under various lights in the neutral, grey-walled room – daylight, incandescent, fluorescent – it remains a pasty beige.
James is a doctor with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Las Vegas – the fierce desert sunlight is also tough on his prosthetic ear.… Read the rest