Photographer Jade Beall never believed she lived up to traditional standards of beauty. And so when she snapped a seminude self-portrait of her un-retouched postpartum body and published it on her Facebook page, she was somewhat surprised at how popular the photo became.
Not only were users liking and sharing it, but Beall was flooded with requests from other women asking her to photograph their postpartum bodies as well. So she did.
Since then, taking these pictures has turned into a mission for Beall, one that she hopes will help “redefine beautiful.”
In a recent interview with HuffPo Live, she explained, “I just want to empower…other women to feel authentically irreplaceable.”
The women she’s so far captured on film have become part of a series she named A Beautiful Body, which Beall hopes to turn into a published book, backed by the help of her Kickstarter fund.
Airbrushing the reality out of women’s bodies has become so much the norm, reality isn’t often seen, let alone celebrated. Even supermodels are Photoshopped into standards of total perfection that can’t be met in reality. The problem is pervasive enough that last year 14-year-old Julia Bluhm petitioned Seventeen magazine to show just one non-airbrushed photo each month. The fact that just one was considered “revolutionary” speaks volumes.
But Beall’s work is the antithesis of that commercialized woman’s body. Here, stretch marks, C-section scars, and rounded bellies are the marks of a woman who has grown life inside her. They’re brandings of power, but when the rest of the world airbrushes them from view, they’re treated like badges of shame.
Beall’s mission is to change that standard of beauty from one that’s exclusive and based on illusion to one that includes actual women and is rooted deeply in reality.
What do you think of the pictures shown here? Do they affect your own perception of beauty? Let us know in the Comments.