Incredible Nail Art Photos From ‘Nails: The Story of the Modern Manicure’

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In Nails: The Story of the Modern Manicure, writer Suzanne E. Shapiro explores why we paint our nails, exploring the trends, art, and traditions that have gone into the long history of women adorning their hands. By showing how we decorate our hands, in both fashion shots and vintage photography, the book sheds a light on what women tell the world through their nails. Here are some of our favorite photos from the definitive look at nail culture.

Adroniki Christodoulou

Nail Queen contestants at the Tokyo Nail Expo

Nail art by Naomi Yasuda, as captured by mobile device

Period nail-product advertisement

Nail art and photography by Madeline Poole, Nailing Hollywood Productions for Steve Madden

Kandinsky nail art by Naomi Yasuda

Adroniki Christodoulou

Nail Queen contestants at the Tokyo Nail Expo

Nail art by Tacarra Sutton (Spifster)

Period nail-product advertisement

Courtesy CND

Nail design by CND for Nicole Miller’s Spring/Summer 2012 collection, New York Fashion Week

Lauren Michelle Pires

Nail art by WAH London