May 12, 2014

A Beautiful Body: Celebrating the Beauty of Real Mothers. {Images}

“I am just like you: Beautiful and Authentic. Let me show you how I see you. Yes, YOU!” ~ Jade Beall

I was blown away when I saw the work of Jade Beall.

It came across my radar after publishing another article for my blog series on pregnancy and motherhood—and another afternoon of frustration as I searched for accompanying photographs.

Every time I write “pregnancy” or “pregnant belly” into my photography database search engine, a stream of images instantly appears—all of gorgeously slim expectant mothers with no stretch marks, no moles besides maybe one tiny cute one and no cellulite on their pregnant bums. It’s a bummer.

And then I saw this, A Beautiful Body Project.

The website describes it as,

“A Women’s Media Platform & Global Network Of Female Photographers Dedicated To Therapeutic Truthful Photos, Videos & Stories To Help Build Self-Esteem In Current and Future Generations Of Women & Girls.”

It’s the baby of Tuscon-based photographer Beall.

Beall, who never felt stereotypically beautiful, posted a semi-nude self-portrait of her un-retouched post-partum body on Facebook, and the photo became a hit.

Not only did people like and share her image, but other women wanted their au naturel post-partum bodies photographed too. So Beall began her unexpected quest to redefine beauty.

Here’s a sneak peek at a few of these striking images.

This YouTube video shares some additional images as well as a little bit of the project’s concept.

And I felt more beautiful after scrolling through these photographs.

My first pregnancy had me feeling radiant, lovely and even slim (considering). This second pregnancy, however—not so much.

And I think a huge part of that is my own comparison to my first pregnant body—and comparison to the photographs that are supposed to be inspiring.

We’ve all seen them.

Pregnant athletes posing nude. Models posing nude. Actresses posing nude. Real women posing nude—with photoshop involved. Because who wants to have their real body shared worldwide, stretch marks, flab rolls and all? The answer should be simple: all of us—and Jade Beall is determined to change that answer one startlingly beautiful image at a time.

To learn more about A Beautiful Body Project, to join the cause or to order your book, visit the website here.

All photographs used with the permission of Jade Beall.



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Editor: Renee Picard

Images: by Jade Beall via Jennifer White

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