Body Positive Project
I’ve photographed lots of men and women over the years, many of them fashion models. I can honestly say I have found beauty in every single person I’ve shot. One of the things that comes up time and time again, (especially when photographing women) is the subjects feeling of not being ‘good enough’. Even incredibly slim models, who many might think are very confident in their bodies, have lots of hang ups. They often feel too big, or too thin, or dislike the texture of their skin, or their moles. There’s always something. This is what led to me starting a body positive project. Let me tell you more about how it came about…
After chatting this through with some of my female friends it struck me that photographing people as they are, simply and without any styling or make up, might be a great way to talk about what bodies really look like, before all the hours spent on lighting, make up and of course, the post shoot retouching that often occurs with editorial work. Wouldn’t it be great to normalise what the human body looks like, we pondered? So that’s exactly what I’m doing.
Why the torso?
The idea to focus on the torso came up because it’s one area that a lot of people feel most self-conscious about (my Mum pals tell me they feel especially conflicted about their tummies after having babies; the dichotomy of being so proud of what their body can do and also how different it can look afterwards). It’s also a very private area of the body, so rarely on show. That provided the anonymity I felt was important for people to feel comfortable being photographed without clothes.
The Body Positive Project
This isn’t a project to provoke any controversy, just something I hope can open a conversation about body positivity and diversity. I’ve asked each subject a little about how their tummy makes them feel. Some names have been changed at the request of the participant.
(If you’d like to get involved please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org )
“I’m a mother of four and approaching 40. I’m single now. I split with the girl’s father a year ago. I was never too bothered about my ex seeing my stretch marks, but the thought of unveiling them to a new man terrifies me. Whoever he might be – he didn’t help make these marks after all”.
Zenith 32. 2 Children.
I had my first child at 19, that was when I first got my stretch marks. I miss how my body looked pre pregnancy. As I had the changes to my stomach so young, I felt like I missed out on my young body and had a very womanly body from an early age, but I’ve learnt to embrace it. It put me off showing my stomach for about a year and a half. But when I returned to modelling, I received a lot of support from photographers which helped build my confidence. When I was 23, I had an ectopic pregnancy which resulted in me losing my left fallopian tube. Since then I have had 2 more surgeries to remove fibroids that have grown where my tube was. After having them removed I have had my second child at 28. My belly causes me a lot of issues, the fibroids are very painful when they come back. I am looking to get a hysterectomy.