shocking portraits explore what world leaders would look like with their skin removed

shocking portraits explore what world leaders would look like with their skin removed

‘one millimeter’ — the brainchild of australian creative director alex wadelton and irish art director/retouching artist marcus byrne — intends to motivate viewers to look beyond skin color, ethnic background, and gender.


in a shocking series of portraits, world leaders are depicted with their skin removed, stripping away the ‘one millimeter’ of skin that covers all humans. coinciding with start of the G7 summit in sicily on may 26th, the project’s objective is underscored by the message: we are all members of the same race — the human race — and we should all treat each other with respect.

donald trump, president of the united states



‘I was watching the news one night, looking at the state of politics in the UK, the US, and here in australia, along with what’s happening in syria, and the mass displacement of tens of millions people across the globe,’ describes alex wadelton. ‘it just feels like the world is on a knife edge at the moment. our leaders are posturing to protect their own country rather than the future of humanity. it struck me that the only difference between us all is literally the skin we’re in. that one millimeter of skin that covers each human. strip that away and what lies beneath us all is a fragile creature.’

world leaders skin removed
donald trump (detail)



in thinking about the theme, wadelton thought of his good friend marcus byrne in order to bring ‘one millimeter’ to life. over weeks of experimentation, byrne finally came up with a technique that involved finding existing state portraits of the world leaders, and layering human body schematics on top of them, with multiple shots of different cuts of meat to enhance the imagery. ‘we wanted to show how fragile humanity is,’ said byrne. ‘there’s so much negativity in the world at the moment, we thought that through stripping away this outer layer of skin, this one millimeter that encases us all, we could show how we are all the same inside.’

vladimir putin, president of the russian federation



‘each artwork was a labour of love,’ continues byrne. ‘I experimented with many photoshop techniques to ensure that even with the removal of skin, you could immediately tell who each world leader was. the result is a series that is quite confronting and unlike any other.’

world leaders skin removed
theresa may, prime minister of the united kingdom

world leaders skin removed
theresa may (detail)

kim jong-un, supreme leader of north korea

world leaders skin removed
angela merkel, chancellor of germany

world leaders skin removed
angela merkel (detail)

jacob zuma, president of south africa

narendra modi, prime minister of india

xi jinping, president of the people’s republic of china

malcolm turnbull, prime minister of australia

world leaders skin removed



behind the scenes | video courtesy of one millimeter



designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: nina azzarello | designboom


  • It removes most of Trump’s pout. An improvement.


    JimCan says:

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