Underneath We Are Women: photography project celebrates female diversity

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Amy Lewis

With the pressures heaped on women by representations of the ‘perfect bikini body’ coming in all angles - it’s not just catwalks and glossies anymore, thanks to billboards that line our streets and train stations - Amy Hermann’s photography project titled Underneath We Are Women, is vital breathing space.

Based in Australia, Hermann is currently recruiting women as part of her ongoing series, which she plans to turn into a book, celebrating the female body in all forms and at all stages of life.

Empowerment, hopes Hermann, is what the 100 women who take part as well as all those who see the images, will take away from the project.

“The biggest thing for me is visibility,” she tells Mashable. “The bodies we see in general in the media, they're fine. There's nothing wrong with those bodies. But there's not much diversity. When people can see these images and they go ‘She's got a caesarean scar like I do' or whatever it is, there's something there that's relatable.”

Inspired by an idea she’d had while at university, Hermann began by asking some of her friends to pose for photographs wearing just their undies, before putting out a call to the women of Australia once she’d seen how bolstered her friends were by the experience.

“The four women seemed to love the whole experience. I thought this might be something other women would want to do, [so] I put up a post on Facebook and got all these women saying 'I'd love to participate in your project!'

“And I thought 'This isn't a project, it's just me mucking around in a studio.' But then I realised that it was something that could really help women.”

Currently crowdsourcing on Kickstarter to help get her photobook off the ground, Hermann says that she enjoys seeing the changes that happen in the women she photographs.

“When we finish shooting … and we pop the photos on a computer. They start looking through and saying things like 'Oh, that’s pretty.' But as we go along ... there’s a shift in how they see themselves. They start saying things like 'I look really powerful in that one,' and I think that's what these women want,” she explains.

To each photograph, Hermann adds explanation of the woman’s background, plus a one-liner, such as, “Underneath I Am… Creative,” to further push the fact that women are far more than just their bodies.

“Education is key to giving women and men a better understanding and appreciation for the diversity of the female body and the ways in which it grows, shapes and changes over time and with different life experiences,” reads Hermann’s website. “And what better way to educate than through honest and uplifting photographs of 100 women.”

To find out more about Underneath We Are Women, see Hermann’s blog, visit the Kickstarter page, or watch the video below.

Lead image: Amy Hermann/

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Amy Lewis

Amy Lewis is a freelance writer and editor, a lover of strong tea, equally strong eyebrows, a collector of facial oils and a cat meme enthusiast. She covers everything from beauty and fashion to feminism and travel.

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