These photos challenge what it really means to look magazine ‘perfect’
Crack open any number of glossy magazines today and you’ll no doubt encounter page after page of women with digitally-trimmed waistlines, Photoshopped thigh gaps, and other technologically-manipulated beauty trends that create impossible standards.
But a new photo series hopes to start a conversation about how women are stunning as they are – curves and all, all while challenging the media’s status quo of narrow beauty expectations.
Blogger Sarah Coffman recently recruited photographer Terrance Smalls to snap herself and two of her friends reading magazines in their underwear, done up like classic pin-up girls – but there’s a twist. Each of them have surgical Sharpie markups on different body parts – lines indicating where their tummies should be tucked, waists nipped, thighs gapped, and breasts enlarged.
Coffman and Smalls were collaborating on another project, when Coffman came up with the idea. “She told us about how she felt moving from Vermont to Southern California and the drastic change in the societal views of beauty,” Smalls tells Hello Giggles. “We absolutely loved the idea and began to work with her to flesh it out.”
Coffman said the problem with many women’s magazines is the patriarchal idea that women should, first and foremost, be concerned with how men view them, or as she calls it, staying within the lines of society.
The concept of the photo shoot was to express those “lines” of insecurity through elaborate and intentionally Photoshop-heavy images. “We decided that the ladies should all be completely dolled up, with over the top make up and full hair, which I believe are instrumental to the feel of the images,” explains Smalls.
“Once we did the shoot and looked at the raw images we needed to make a decision about where to take the art. Ultimately we decided to kind of continue to stress the point so we airbrushed the images to hell. There’s not a single pore on any of them, and that was very deliberate,” he says.
Let’s hope that the glossy magazines get the message right sooner rather than later – there is no such thing as the perfect size, or the perfect body. Only yours.
Models: Sarah Coffman (@nerdygypsy), Rose Duquette (@fractured_euphoria), Tiffany Stevens (@t.steezie), and Ashley Arce.
Hair: Connie Novello (@connienovello)
Makeup : Tiana Smalls (@tsmallsmakeup/@tsmallsphoto)
Photography by Terrance Smalls facebook.com/tsmallsphoto, tsmalls.com