From afar, the photorealistic portraits that Cayce Zavaglia creates look like they were painted with fine, hatched brushstrokes. But when you get closer you can see that each one is actually made up of thousands of threads, painstakingly embroidered by hand using a needle and endless patience.

Filmmaker Jesse Brass created a short documentary, Verso, based on Zavaglia’s work, and her thoughts on other mediums.

Unlike the millions of images shared to social media every day that are painstakingly curated so everyone’s life looks perfect, Zavaglia’s embroidered portraits literally feature two contrasting sides. There’s the idyllic image on the front, and the raw, tangled, and often chaotic stitches and threads on the back. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to put your best foot forward, but no one’s life is perfect.

[Vimeo via The Awesomer]