Bare Reality: 100 Women and their Breasts
There has been so much public debate about breasts recently, from Free the Nipple to No More Page 3, from breastfeeding selfies on Facebook to Rihanna on the red carpet. I think the time has never been better to hear how women really feel about their breasts, and to see how they really look.
I have always been fascinated by the dichotomy between women's personal lives and how they are depicted by the media; between how we feel about breasts privately and how they are presented for public consumption. We see images of breasts everywhere in the media and yet 'real'breasts are taboo, hidden away beneath clothes and bras.
'Bare Reality: 100 women and their breasts' explores how women feel about their breasts. 100 women bare all, bravely sharing un-airbrushed photographs of their breasts alongside intensely personal stories about their breasts, bodies and lives.
Growing up, I never thought my breasts were very attractive. They didn't seem to measure up to the ones I saw all around me. I grew up believing my breasts were objects that should be 'perfect'and desirable for men, and that they fell a long way short. The breasts we see in the media are often surgically enhanced, professionally lit, and photoshopped. Airbrushed breasts, belonging to models and actresses, not only create an unflattering comparison but present an unobtainable ideal. If a model can't live up to the ideal of perfect breasts, how can anyone else? In creating Bare Reality I felt compelled to share un-airbrushed photographs of breasts.
We love telling our stories, and hearing other people's stories. I wanted to re-humanise women through honest photography, present our breasts as they really are and burst the 'fantasy bubble' of the youthful, idealised and sexualised breasts presented by the media. But the interviews are at the heart of the project. Bare Reality explores what it means to be a woman, and makes women subject, not object. Breasts are catalysts for discussing intimate aspects of women's lives, such as growing up, sexuality, motherhood, breastfeeding, relationships, body image, health, cancer and ageing.
Creating Bare Reality has been an incredible two year adventure. I've met some amazing women I am deeply grateful to them. Their stories have moved me, opened my eyes, inspired me, and healed me. They bared their breasts and their souls. I am honoured that they shared so much with me. I feel tender about my own experience as a woman and full of admiration and warmth for female experience.
I've been overwhelmed with the response to Bare Reality since launching on Kickstarter. I've received so many beautiful messages from people who feel touched by the photographs and stories. The video has been viewed over one million times. The project was funded in one hour so I am delighted I can produce a book to conclude the project.
I hope that you will be moved by the wonderful women who took part. I hope Bare Reality can transform you in some way.
This is how we look. This is how we feel.
Bare Reality: 100 women, their breasts, their stories, published by Pinter & Martin, £25
Bare Reality will donate £1.00 from every book sold to Breast Cancer UK
Image: Copyright Laura Dodsworth: All Rights Reserved