I'm not often exposed to bare boobs, at least not like those found in the new Kickstarter book project, Bare Reality: 100 Women and Their Breasts.
I've seen my fair share of breast images; hiked up in racy bras or teeny string bikini tops (giving the wearer that "tits on a platter" look). If they are bare, they're usually oiled, spray-tanned, and sporting unnatural post-production shading and highlights. The curious thing about those photos is how similar the images appear: in size, shape, symmetry, and perky placement. It's more like looking at one repetitive idealized image of youthful female breasts, rather than a true representation of mammary diversity.Bare Reality - 100 Women and Their Breasts
The Bare Reality project attempts to change that view of women's breasts. It exposes 100 women, ages 19 to 101, of all colors, shapes, and sizes. The subjects of the book not only bare their bodies, they also reveal their breast lives: from tales of development, breastfeeding, and plastic surgery, to dealing with breast cancer. The stories are as raw, original, and moving as the images.
The project is the brainchild of photographer Laura Dodsworth, who walks her talk by including her own pair in the book. Dodsworth's "goals are to present un-airbrushed honest photographs alongside powerful, personal stories." She's on a mission is to create "an art and social project which explores how women feel about their breasts."
Dodsworth also "hope[s] the work will move and inspire people and transform their relationship with breasts." That's a big but laudable goal given the negative body image issues many women, of all ages, struggle to overcome. It's common for visitors to this website to write me with their worries about their breasts, fearing that they don't look a certain way or reflect the stylized, sexualized breasts seen in the media or lingerie advertising.
Who knows? Maybe publication of the book will help change the minds of those uncomfortable or offended at the sight of a baby nursing at a mother's breast. If it's easier to accept and celebrate breasts as complex body parts, it could lift the stigma still associated with public breastfeeding.
To learn more about the photos and women's stories, watch the video (with over 1 million hits), and find out where a portion of the book's proceeds will be directed, please visit the Bare Reality website.
If you want to help Laura Dodsworth complete her book project (and reserve a copy in the process), check out Bare Reality's Kickstarter page. But you better hurry, because there are only a few weeks left in the fundraising campaign.
What about you? Do you think the Bare Reality story and photo project can change minds and perspectives? Will you be supporting the Kickstarter campaign? Why or why not?
Image credits: © Copyright Laura Dodsworth 2012-2014. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.