“A Beautiful Body project is movement of women coming together to tell their stories and celebrate their ever-changing bodies so that future generations of women can live free from self-suffering.”
~ Jade Beall
© Jade Beall
How Beautiful Bodies Began
When Jade Beall published a series of self-portraits of herself and a friend’s semi-nude postpartum body online – sans any retouch – her Facebook page received thousands of “likes” and shares. It became apparent that she had struck a nerve, one that she was not too surprised about.
She stated that she “didn’t think she was the only woman in the world that thinks that she is not typically beautiful for our standards in media and society.” Since then, hundreds of mothers have written her, hoping Beall would be willing to take portraits of them “just as they were”. Overflow of response has gone so far as to literally fill her email inbox so that it could not receive any more responses.
“My dream is to be a part of a movement of being kind to ourselves and to others and witness a generation of young people that no longer waste years of precious life on self-loathing like I have because they think they are un-beautiful.”
In discussing her work, Beall says that she began this book project unintentionally. After shooting some self-portraits with her 5-week-old son, Sequoia, accompanied by a blog about her newly-round post-Birth body, she was flooded with emails by mothers wanting to share their incredible, inspiring, and sometimes painful stories. For Beall, that was when she realized she needed to tell their untold stories.
“American mothers need sisterhood more than ever, in my opinion. We must unite to facilitate love for each-other and to praise one-another for their authentic beauty, their authentic parenting and their unreplicate-able story.”
Thoughts on Beauty – With All Its Dimples
As I first sat down to think about the beauty of the mother’s body – stretch marks, cellulite, and saggy-ness included – I was immediately struck by how hard we try to hide what we deem as “unattractive”. Yes, I will be the first to admit that I do retouch on images for clients when requested. Does that make me Beauty or the Beast? There is a time and a place, but are we focusing too much on an ideal and not allowing art to embrace all beauty, not just what we see in the magazines?
Maybe that is why I am so drawn to this project. It sets itself against the airbrushed advertisements and presses to re-shape media by no longer manipulating the shape of the female body.
Sure, we have probably all seen the viral picture talking about women and their tiger stripes – but how many of us are honestly brave enough to run around in a two piece after child number two? Women are more then statistics – 36-24-36 – but a canvas of life and creation. After all, every woman can say: “I’m crafty – I make people.”
In this project, women are more then shedding a little clothing; they are tearing away the self-imposed layers, exposing their insecurities and laying vulnerable for all to see. This is what beauty looks like, more than supple skin or tight abs – beauty is the ability to see oneself and the power of creating new life. It is accepting it all, without labeling it good or bad, with hands wide open – no matter how they may shake in the beginning.
A Beautiful Body
A project dedicated to celebrating mothers and helping them embrace the beauty of their unique bodies.
At the writing of this article, with one day left, the book has raised over $55,000. The 100 – 150 page book, which will include images, stories, and writings from the mothers, is set to publish in January 2014.
Until Next Time . . .
Stay Inspired ~ Jules
[via Huffington Post]
CREDITS: Photographs by Jade Beall are copyrighted by the artist. Do not copy, modify or re-post this article or images without express permission from SLR Lounge and the artist.