Kyotocat for 'Natural Beauty'. June 2017. Words continue in comments due to IG character limit. ⠀ (1/2) "I stopped shaving completely when I was a teenager because of two instances. The first? I got tired of all the time wasted on maintenance and the discomfort that came with it. The second was when I went on a few multiple week-long backpacking trips; it would have been extremely inconvenient to spend hours ripping my hair out, so I let things grow. Being so close to nature let me dive deeper into and re-examine the relationship with myself and the world, acting as a mirror. In nature, there is wild; it is as beautiful as it is untamed. How could it be anything other than that? ⠀ I felt so relieved and free when I let it grow out. It felt like being able to breathe. It was incredibly comfortable too. I felt a confidence and boldness returning, like I was replenishing some kind of primal power. ⠀ People respond to it differently all the time. There are very encouraging/positive reactions-women who have messaged me to thank me for changing their mind and pushing them to challenge their motives/experiment with growing their body hair. Then there are people that start to fetishize it, which can be strange. ⠀ People revere my decision as a feminist and bold political statement, which is ironic, considering how almost everybody has some kind of body hair. It is also funny because I am lazy and keeping it is the path of least resistance. There are people who are exceptionally rude and who speak from fear. People who say it's dirty and that I must be a man. The more important questions to ponder are rather why and how do we live in a culture/society that has deemed it acceptable for certain people to have body hair, and unacceptable for others? Isn't it absurd that it is socially acceptable for humans to have lots of hair on their head, but not on other parts of their same body? Isn't it ridiculous and ironic that what grows naturally on its own is seen as unnatural? How did we get here?"
1,726 Likes, 55 Comments - Ben Hopper (@benhopper) on Instagram: "Kyotocat for 'Natural Beauty'. June 2017. Words continue in comments due to IG character limit. ⠀..."
Avec son projet "Natural Beauty", le photographe londonnien Ben Hopper a l'intention de faire bouger les codes classiques de beauté. L'artiste de 37 ans a invité à poser des dizaines de femmes, laissant apparaitre leur pilosité sous les aisselles.
Inutile de suivre les diktats
L'objectif de ces clichés en noir et blanc n'est autre que de prouver que les femmes n'ont pas besoin de se conformer aux diktats de la mode et aux attentes de la société en termes d'épilation pour être jugées comme sexy et attirantes.
"J'aime la beauté naturelle chez une femme. Je trouve cela joli et dans certaines circonstances valorisant et sexy. De nos jours, il faut une personnalité forte pour être une femme avec des aisselles poilues", estime le photograpge cité par Daily Mail. L'idée du Londonnien n'est pas de convaincre les femmes de renoncer à l'épilation, mais simplement de rappeler qu'il s'agit d'un choix que l'on se doit de respecter.
It's May which is the beginning of the summer here, round the Northern Hemisphere. It's also 2019, which means more women are embracing their natural state and instead of finding the best waxing salon or most efficient razor, let their body hair grow. Here's to a summer with more acceptance ⠀ "...In the times I have shaved I have felt weirdly naked and vulnerable with discomfort at seeing the empty spaces where my hair should be. Luckily, the pain of regrowth has quickly reminded me that my natural state is hairy and how my body feels best! I find my body hair incredibly feminine and powerful, it has connected me to a strong and sexy woman within me, even if sometimes certain settings make me awkward and overly aware of it. I'm so glad that not shaving is becoming normal and acceptable. I always look back at when I was a teenager and the thought of even having pubes was a crime and laugh at how far I have come in rejecting what is expected of me. Whilst I have no issue in how people choose to groom themselves (especially because I occasionally remove my body hair) I have always been bewildered by the embarrassment a tuft of armpit hair can bring upon a room of rational people." ⠀ - Jess Cummin for 'Natural Beauty' (January, 2019). Read more words by Jesse and see more photos from my 'Natural Beauty' project on therealbenhopper.com.
1,880 Likes, 25 Comments - Ben Hopper (@benhopper) on Instagram: "It's May which is the beginning of the summer here, round the Northern Hemisphere. It's also 2019,..."
Daily Mail made a new feature on my 'Natural Beauty' project yesterday (link in my stories). ⠀ I've posted 2 photos from the project, and archived them. I wasn't happy with their Engagement. This is the 3rd one I post. It's one of the 'strongest' photos from my 'Natural Beauty' project, probably the most viral one. It does make me wonder; Instagram doesn't represent 'my work', it represents 'my work on Instagram'. It's the highlights, the viral content, the punchy stuff, the images that look good as a thumb, and will likely to attract more likes. Being on Instagram has been a very interesting learning experience for me. What am I doing here? Am I trying to go viral? Am I trying to share the work that I like? The latter has defiantly proved to be a pointless thing to do; each time I tried to share something I really loved, the engagement fell through. It's a miserable feeling. No dopamine, no sympathy. I am trying to be mindful when I post on here, I am trying to be present. I am trying to honest with myself, truthful. It's hard. It's very hard and I think it's a bit of a shame. I would love to hear from you; what are YOUR thoughts & experience about it? ⠀ Anyway, it's nice to see 'Natural Beauty' going viral again. It's the 3rd time it's happening since 2014. It's a beautiful reminder how this subject and the format of the project is ever so relevant, still. It inspires me and reminds me the power of photography, the impact art has. ⠀ "...Your body is beautiful, you don't need to burn it with lasers" - Maya Felix, in photograph (2014) See the rest of the project + words by the models on therealbenhopper.com (link in my bio).
3,682 Likes, 95 Comments - Ben Hopper (@benhopper) on Instagram: "Daily Mail made a new feature on my 'Natural Beauty' project yesterday (link in my stories). ⠀ I've..."
"As a teenager, I remember trying to stuff myself into a box of what a girl should be like. It always felt uncomfortable; padded bras, shoes that hurt and shaving rash. Running, swimming and climbing have helped me to see the strength and resilience in my body and to love it for what it is. Growing my armpit hair has been a recent experiment and the longer it gets, the more I like it! I like the way it looks & feels. It has given me a new respect for myself. So I say, embrace growth & if it pleases you, let it all grow!" ⠀ - Jess Waldman for 'Natural Beauty' (October 2018)
811 Likes, 7 Comments - Ben Hopper (@benhopper) on Instagram: ""As a teenager, I remember trying to stuff myself into a box of what a girl should be like. It..."
Remember when armpit hair was still a big deal? ⠀ Sammy for 'Natural Beauty' (2014) See full project on therealbenhopper.com (link in my bio)
761 Likes, 4 Comments - Ben Hopper (@benhopper) on Instagram: "Remember when armpit hair was still a big deal? ⠀ Sammy for 'Natural Beauty' (2014) See full..."
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