In Jade Beall's book of photos, A Beautiful Body Project, dozens of mothers reveal their bodies 'just as they are' - un-Photoshopped, but no less beautiful
A photographer has captured portraits of dozens of nude mothers and pregnant women in a bid to portray their bodies 'just as they are', and to debunk society's idea that they should 'bounce back' immediately after childbirth.
Jade Beall, a mother-of-one from Tuscon, Arizona, began by publishing a series of semi-nude self portraits on Facebook, revealing all the scars and imperfections that came with pregnancy and the birth of her son, Sequoia.
After the portraits inspired hundreds of other mothers, many of whom wanted to be photographed in a similar way, Ms Beall turned her images into a book called A Beautiful Body Project, set to be published in January.
|Beautiful bodies: Photography
Jade Beall has captured portraits of dozens of mothers and pregnant women in a
bid to celebrate all the physical changes that come with pregnancy and
|Photo collection: The
inspiring images have been assembled into a book called A Beautiful Body
Project, which will be published in January|
The book of black-and-white photos will also include the 'incredible, inspiring and sometimes painful stories' of each woman, according to Ms Beall's website.
What's more, the photographer has touched so many that her book is being funded entirely by donors and volunteers, who have so far raised nearly $35,000 via Kickstarter for the cause.
Ms Beall told the Huffington Post: 'We are facing an epidemic of women who feel unworthy of being called beautiful.'
|Background: The book will also
include the 'incredible, inspiring and sometimes painful stories' of each
woman, according to Ms Beall's website|
|Making a difference: 'We are
facing an epidemic of women who feel unworthy of being called beautiful,' said
Ms Beall, who hopes to cure this 'epidemic' with her photography|
|Intimate moment: A mother
poses with her child, who breastfeeds in the foreground of this image|
To rectify this 'epidemic', she hopes to redefine society's idea of beautiful women, especially those whose bodies have transformed through pregnancy and childbirth.
'Shaming mothers for not "bouncing back" after childbirth can cause feelings of failure when being a mother is challenging enough,' she explained.
Ms Beall added that negative feelings are often exaggerated among the many women who feel 'un-beautiful' even before giving birth.
In a video for the book, Ms Beall explains that she took the initial photos of herself 'because 95per cent of women will not see ourselves reflected in mainstream media'.
|In the family: The women
photographed could choose whether to include their children or not|
|The best medicine: Ms Beall
likes to think her photographs are 'medicinial' - both for the women being
portrayed, and for society whose perception of beauty needs 'healing'|
|Redefining beauty: 'Shaming
mothers for not "bouncing back" after childbirth can cause feelings
of failure when being a mother is challenging enough,' she explained|
In many of the images, the women hold their babies in a loving embrace - in one particularly striking photo, two children gaze lovingly at their mother, who puts her nude stomach on display.
Ms Beall likes to think her photographs are 'medicinial' - both for the women being portrayed, and for society whose perception of beauty needs 'healing'.
Indeed one mother named Michelle, who was photographed for Ms Beall's project, explained on OffbeatHome.com how the shoot made her 'catch a glimmer of [her] beauty'.
|Hopeful future: Ms Beall's
dream is 'to be a part of a movement of being kind to ourselves and to others'|
|Well-rounded: In the images,
women proudly display their baby bumps and pregnancy scars|
|Empowering: Ms Beall also hopes to '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'|
She wrote: 'I had exposed myself to Jade - not just my flesh, and typically hidden parts, but the angles, and lines and aspects of me that came with being a mother.
'The exposure called to light remembrances of how my body changed shape . . . and the stories that my body has stored from the act of surrender to motherhood and the unexpected life that has become mine since taking the leap of faith into motherhood.'
In the future, Ms Beall plans to expand her portraits to include those who are aging or suffering from cancer or eating disorders.
|Body image: The book is intended to overturn the media's portrayal of the ideal body shape, especially after childbirth|
|A mother's love: Many of the images show the women in intimate poses with their babies|
|Future projects: After she completes this book, Ms Beall wants to expand her honest portraits to include those who are aging or suffering from cancer or eating disorders|
|Embracing their bodies: The photos were untouched and un-Photoshopped, encouraging women to accept themselves as they are|
'My dream is to be a part of a movement of being kind to ourselves and to others,' she told the Huffington Post.
'And [to] 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.'
According to the book's website, '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.'
|Good cause: The photo shoots
were all done for free, and the book is being funded entirely by donors and
volunteers, who have so far raised nearly $35,000 via Kickstarter|
Feeling beautiful in her own skin: One woman displays the intricate body art that decorates her pregnant belly
She tells of how one woman once told her she felt something was 'deeply wrong' with her, simply because she had only managed to lose five pounds after the birth of her second child.
Many women feel 'unworthy', says Ms Beall. 'There can be so many stories shadowing a woman in our culture.'
But through A Beautiful Body Project, she believes women have the power to make a change.
Credits: Mail Online