I was first introduced to the work of Carey Lynne Fruth through the wonders of social media, when Body Positive Fat Activist Denise Jolly posted a gorgeous shot of herself wearing her birthday suit, purple flower petals, and pure goddess energy. To put a complex emotional experience simply, I was blown away by what a powerful punch this image packs in all its natural glory. I followed the inspired path of petals onto Carey’s Photography website, and was beyond pleasantly surprised to see that the series, which is aptly titled, “American Beauty,” features diverse female-presenting bodies of all sizes, shapes, and colors. After getting permission to share her images on our Instagram account, we realized that we kind of broke the social media intewebs by the end of the day! Without hesitation I reached out to Carey for permission to use her images in this very article that you will have the honor of witnessing as well now. As a fellow Photographer, I can’t stress enough how grateful I am to have this work exist, and to be created by another womyn whose vision is so in alignment with mine. I can’t stress the power of sharing positive imagery such as these enough. As much of an impact as words can have; sometimes the power of one image truly can speak volumes.
As the Artist’s Press Kit states: The American Beauty photo series by Carey Lynne Fruth was inspired by the iconic rose petal fantasy imagery in the film “American Beauty.” In American Beauty, a middle-aged man conjures a fantasy of a thin, blonde, teenaged girl. In Carey Lynne’s series, she encouraged her volunteer models to step into the flower scene as self-possessed, empowered subjects rather than as sexual objects. They were asked not to perform as models, but to be authentic in their sensuality, vulnerability, and complexity. The images are meant to speak about real life sensuality and femininity, and to push the paradigm of beauty standards in the U.S. by representing women of different shapes, sizes, ethnicities, and ages. The Lilacs are meant to represent beauty, pride, and confidence. This project is ongoing.
“Photographers are scared. They are scared that if they do something all inclusive and different from the current ideal of beauty that people will not come to their business. Almost every image you see in main stream media is of one type of woman, thin white women to be specific. But that is not actually the majority of women in our country look like. America is made up of all types of women. Women who are hungary to see themselves represented in a beautiful way. And why shouldn’t they? I think as a photographer its my job to show people how beautiful they are. I can see people in a way that they have been programmed not to see themselves. I think if you’re a photographer that is only shooting one type of person, you are failing at your job and only adding to the problem.” – Carey Fruth
“When I was a teenager I remember seeing pin up imagery and thinking it was an unattainable ideal of femininity. My very first attempt at recreating the genre was in series I did in college where I juxtaposed an image of a model dressed as a perfect pin up next to an image of her that I felt was more realistic. For example, the model dressed to the nines with a bag full of fresh groceries and the opposite image was of the same model in modern clothing and a bag of fast food. At the time I was commenting on the fact that I thought these images were unreal and not something that modern woman with modern demands could be. Now my view has changed. Imagery that was once primarily made by and for men can now be accessed by women on their own terms” – Carey Fruth
“Body acceptance is important. To some it may see anti feminist to create images that deal with the idea of beauty at all. But I think that we are creating a channel for women to re-envision themselves. When women come into my studio, I want to prove to them that they ARE as beautiful as they always feared they weren’t, than maybe they can let go of that fear. And by letting go of that fear, they free themselves up to direct that energy they once wasted on telling themselves that they weren’t good enough to else where in their life.” – Carey Fruth
Carey Lynne is a San Francisco-based artist and photographer who has been working with Shameless Photography creating body positive pin up, retro boudoir and old Hollywood inspired imagery for the past 3 years. She has had work published in the Huffington Post, Playboy, Jezebel, Redbook, and Cosmopolitan. Her other work includes self portraits focusing on the complexity of feminine identity and images of abandoned spaces involving themes of isolation, decay, and destruction. Miss Fruth was educated at George Mason University and the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
Wear Your Voice couldn’t love Carey, Shameless Photography, this series, or their message as a whole any more if we tried (not to mention the fact that this project centers in our beloved Bay Area), and are looking forward to future collaborations! How do you feel about “American Beauty” re-conceptualized in this way? Comment below – we know our Instagram audience has been loving it!
Dear Readers, HAPPY #FuckFatPhobia FRIDAY courtesy of these gorgeous from the inside out kindred spirits who clearly know how to #DropTheTowel: Denise Jolly founder of the Be Beautiful Project & Sonya Renee Taylor creator of The Body Is Not An Apology – inspiration warrior womyn extraordinaire! Love, @somewhere_under_the_rainbow Photo Credit: the brilliantly talented Carey Lynne, of Shameless Photography http://www.careyfruthphotography.com/people-1/ Article up on the whole series, "American Beauty," now: http://www.wearyourvoicemag.com/photographer-redefines-american-beauty-with-body-positive-series/ #bebeautiful #thebodyisnotanapology #FuckFatPhobia #WearYourVoice #goldenconfidence #losehatenotweight #ThereIsNoWrongWayToBeAWoman #effyourbeautystandards #curvesreign #DropTheTowel #honorourcurves #alternativecurves #boldncurvy #bigarmnoharm #bigandblunt