In the digital age, along with Photoshop’s prowess, “A Beautiful Body Project For Media” is an indispensable photographic project. We need to see images that highlight the scars of time. These touching images, predominately black and white, modestly deal with what remains from moments that mark a life: stretch marks, love handles, bulges of fat, or sagging breasts.
Jade Beall knows how to underline a rather taboo aspect about pregnancy, that of the profoundly modified body, and touches upon the stigmas of this passage so deeply affecting for a mother. A mother never expresses the distress she feels when her body changes. She’ll always tell you that the pregnancy was a memorable moment in her life. Paying homage to all these women who have a serious ordeal by highlighting them, Jade’s photos are beautiful and discreet; they subtly threat the subject with heartfelt honesty.
Hi Jade, can you tell us about your background in photography?
I started photographing in high school in 1996. I loved developing black and white photographs in the darkroom, it was like magic! I have been pretty much self-taught since then, and over the last 5 years I have found my passion in photographing women and celebrating them just as they are without using photoshop and instead praising the parts which we think are “un-beautiful”- wrinkles, stretch marks, curvy bodies, etc.
When did you begin the “A Beautiful Body Project”?
I began A Beautiful Body Project after I took some self portraits of my own post-birth body which had gained 50 pounds in early 2012 to celebrate the changes my body had just underwent. I posted the self-portraits on my website and women were very taken with that shoot and hundreds asked if I would photograph them, just as they were.
I read that you grew up in a hippie community. Since appearances aren’t one of their top priorities, what was their vision of the body after pregnancy or marked by scars?
I was raised by women who were very loving both towards themselves and each other. You would never hear women talking about what they ‘hated’ about their bodies or commenting on another women in a negative manner. I was raised to love the myself and honor and respect and see beauty in everything and everyone around me. The women around me were also nude a lot, so I have always been very comfortable being around nude women, it’s not a big deal for me like it is for a lot of Americans.
You also explore another taboo subject: mastectomies. Were you the one who went looking for these models?
This project was really accepted by the media and women in general. Do you plan to continue photographing for this series? Or will you let it live it’s own life, so to speak?
It seemed to me that a book about this work was edited using crowd funding. Can you tell us a bit about your experience?