Gina Vaynshteyn
January 23, 2015 6:00 am

In this super rad photo project by Shameless Photography, artist Sophie Spinelle, along with collaborators Carey Lynne and Maxine Nienow, transformed a diverse group of women into “classic” pin-up girls, and we’re just floored. Spinelle, who founded Shameless in 2009, did so with the intention and goal of making women of all different body types and skin tones feel gorgeous and comfortable with their natural bodies, no matter what they’re wearing (or not wearing).

Her approach? Pops of color, vintage inspirations and a little sass. At the core of Spinelle’s philosophy, she believes that no person should feel like they have to be celebrity to look and feel beautiful and glamorous. Beauty, above all, should be equated with confidence and empowerment, not the size of your jeans. Working with women from all over the world, Spinelle, Lynne and Nienow, challenge society’s idealized views of beauty by reimagining the every-day woman as a glam, retro pin-up. The photos are campy, fun, and gorgeous.

“Shameless was born out of a personal longing,” Spinelle tells Hello Giggles. “It took me a long time to embrace my girly side, and even longer to admit that I wanted to play with glamour. There was a voice in my head saying, ‘Uh-uh. No way. You can’t pull that off!’  Your hair is too frizzy, your chest is too small, your thighs are too dimpled.” Ultimately, the project was a way to challenge traditional beauty standards through a retro pop lens. “The idea for Shameless emerged because I wished there was a truly safe and welcoming space for people to play with their fantasies of who they are and who they want to be,” she tells us.

Her journey to creating this series started a few years ago during a photo shoot. “I photographed a woman who was strong and quiet and funny and also stunningly beautiful. She opened up a little by little throughout the shoot, until she was open-mouthed laughing and winking at the camera,” Spinelle recalls. “Several months after the shoot, I got an email from her.  She said that the photo shoot was the first time in her life that she had ever felt beautiful, and that the experience had helped give her the strength to realize she was in an abusive relationship — and to finally leave.”
It was a lightbulb moment for Spinelle, who recognized the power of confidence and the camera’s ability, under the right circumstances, to foster it. It was the seed of a project that’s since grown into an empowering photo series. Subjects are both clients game for a feminist photo shoot and winners of the “Love Your Body” contest, Shameless’ annual contest where readers write love letters to their
bodies.
Check out some of these awesome, brazen, and beautiful subjects from the photo series, and be inspired:

Images by Sophie Spinelle, Carey Lynne and Maxine Nienow/ Shameless Photography

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