How do we define beauty?
Lately, whenever I walk through the MTR I find myself stopping in my tracks. An endless flow of commuters pass me by, sometimes acknowledging the plethora of advertising images in every possible eye level location, either consciously or subconsciously, often not giving them more than a few seconds of their time while they wait for the train to pull in. I am often made uncomfortable by this product marketing, sometimes by the products themselves (slimming pills usually) or the way they are advertised (photoshopped women eating chips with insipid smiles). The last advertisement that knocked me sideways was for a fitness watch, worn by a model who looked so underweight that she would surely faint if she ever did try to run. Whether or not she really is this thin in real life is another thing, I noticed her elbows seem to have magically disappeared along with her armpit (I suppose joints are not attractive in the advertising world?). This bothered me before, but now with my daughter holding my hand I've decided it has to stop. I no longer care that others don't notice this bizarre distortion of reality or think that it's harmless. It is harmful for my daughter - her self worth, her expectations and appreciation of her own body and society's obsession with getting thinner and thinner and thinner until you disappear right into that fitness watch hanging limply around your (disjointed) elbow.
In exploring how I might help to bring about change as a photographer in Hong Kong I feel that it isn't enough to get on my soapbox (although if you know me, you know I do love a good rant). I need to start presenting an alternative. Bodies. Lots and lots of beautiful bodies. Round, soft, muscular, tall, short, old, young, different shades and sorts and sizes. How can we see our self in these images if we are not even represented? Why is shame the main driving force behind marketing (look at how beautiful and rich and slim I am, bet you wish you could be just like me?). What about connection, inspiration, a little bit of humanity? So what I am hoping to create is a body of work that celebrates the incredibly beauty of all our different bodies, that we can start offering an alternative framework of body diversity and self love to challenge the industry standards. If you would like to be a part of this modelling campaign, then give me a shout! All I'm looking for is some serious self love and body confidence :)
Throwback to my studio session at Ones Production with the amazing Leigh, who at the time was participating in the 2020 Reebok CrossFit games, and was ranked 2nd in the UK and 5th worldwide in the 50-54 age category!!