The “Imperfect” project is a protest against the pressure to live up to the unrealistic standard of beauty that can only be achieved with the aid of photoshop. As a photographer, I am near-constantly faced with requests from clients to hide a blemish or “even out” skin tones or reshape a body part. I believe this dissatisfaction with our natural appearance is the result of being constantly fed with airbrushed, reshaped, photoshopped versions of the human body. We are inundated with these images of “perfection” on social media and in advertising. There is research showing that our exposure to these images has significant negative effects on our self-esteem and mental health.
This project is an attempt to remind us of what human beings look like! It is a celebration of the uneven skin-tones, bumps and scars, folds and stretch marks that are all part of what it means to be human. It is a reminder that beauty often comes with flaws.
This project will be carried out in two phases.
Phase 1 – Portraits
Every day in the month of November I posted beautifully taken portraits of men and women. These unedited portraits challenge our desire to hide our flaws on social media. All portraits taken are hosted in an online showcase at imperfect.thechudy.com
Phase 2 – Outreach
I am organising an outreach program for teenagers. The program will require volunteers who will go and speak to groups of teenagers about body positivity and the need for empathy.
I have come to realise that the insecurities many people bear about their bodies usually start in secondary school. Many teenagers with bodies or features that differ from the stereotypical idea of beauty get bullied and laughed at by other teenagers who have not been taught empathy and the scars from these unkind words stay with people well into their adult years.
I believe that assuring these teenagers that they are beautiful the way they are can help them avoid the years of self-doubt and insecurity that many of us have had to live through.