Words: Ellie June Goodman
Images: Salt and Light Photography
Salt and Light Photography shut down labels and embrace many forms of female beauty in new photoshoot.
Unrealistic beauty standards are everywhere- they appear in ad campaigns, on the pages of glossy fashion magazines, and as we nonchalantly scroll through our Instagram feeds. It is almost impossible to avoid their influence, and even more so to not be hit by a feeling of failure if we don’t reflect these standards ourselves. But, they are unrealistic. So, a new photoshoot by American duo, Salt and Light Photography, aims to show the middle finger to these standards, and to the body shamers who fall fool to the belief that their opinion of how another woman looks actually matters.
In their project “Don’t Label Me”, Abigail Spencer and Meg Bishop shot seven women in their underwear with the many slurs and insults they’ve had to carry painted onto their bodies. At first this seems like merely an eye-opening look at the bullying and criticism that is ubiquitous in the lives of women (often from a young age) until the words are covered over with glittery paint.
Therefore, the shoot is a celebration in the female form and encourages us to cast aside those ridiculous expectations and embrace our bodies as they are. Speaking on their Facebook, the duo said:
“These are our bodies, the only ones we will ever get. So, let’s live our lives.
Today, we want to say screw you to the contouring and spandex. To filters and tummy trimmers. To weight loss pills and pushup bras. To every horrible, uncomfortable, unrealistic standard of which we feel we have to live by. We are mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts and friends. We are women. We are strong. Unified. Bonded. We are unapologetically confident from here on out.”
Moreover, the women in the shoot are inspiring not just by taking part, but in the stories they have to tell and the lives that they have lived – from childhood loss and trauma, to body shaming due to weight or disability. These women represent the freedom that we should all seek to feel when it comes to our bodies, because they are after all ours, and no one else’s.