I was honored to be able to display several images from Woman as Art and tell the stories of my friends who are in them.
Here’s the images and the text from the show:
Women are beautiful.
All women are beautiful.
And they should feel beautiful – on their own terms. Not some terms dictated to them by the media, or someone selling something, or even their husband for that matter.
Woman as Art by Ingram Images is dedicated to proclaiming that fact.
That they are beautiful not only on the outside, but on the inside as well. Beautiful in the bringing of children into the world, nourishing and loving those children, being healers, and surviving and flourishing when their health brings them down.
The friends that are exhibited here have become mothers 27 times over. They have survived emotional, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of a man, battle depression and panic attacks, and fight Multiple Sclerosis. They have buried husbands, found new love, and witnessed their grandchildren coming into the world. They are gym rats, and love tattoos, and are yoga instructors. They can play the tuba, have run a half marathon, and are from opposite ends of the political spectrum. They are waitresses, retail workers, nursing students, they have master’s degrees in social work and have helped men get out of prison and back to a productive life. They are actresses, stay at home moms, and most work in addition to being a mother.
One is a second grader that I’ve been fortunate to photograph since she was just a year old.
There is one thing that they all share in common. They all have doubted that they are beautiful. They all fight negativity in where they think their body has failed them. “I felt like my body was ugly, disgusting, and the enemy,” one said to me.
It is possible for women to realize just how beautiful that they are. Every one of these friends who’s beauty you see here (and the ones that declined to make their photos public as well) are just as beautiful on the inside. Some spend hours in the gym, some don’t. Some wear the badges of bringing life into the world. Others will.
I think the complexity of the gifts women have are frequently lost on men, and even those women themselves, far too often.