So many women do not like the way they look, and feel bad about themselves. Yet such women can be stunningly beautiful in the eyes of other people. The gap in between is fascinating. What is the truth? What is beauty? Why is it important?
I began the project in 2009, armed with passions for the topic and for portraiture. I talked to women friends to discuss beauty and self image. I took pictures. I worked collaboratively with each to decide how to design the photo session. I kept notes. I found that the pairing of the women’s thoughts and images was compelling. The Exploring Beauty project was born, and grew into an art show that toured galleries in The Netherlands and in Belgium.
Here you will see and read about themes of age, sexuality, body image, cultural differences, confidence, growth and, most importantly, character. The photos in this book are not altered or air-brushed to change the appearance of a model’s face or body. What you see is what you get. In some instances, models are painted or drawn.
The interviews and images show that beauty can be fundamental to women’s perception of themselves. Coming to terms with self image is a way of gaining control, confidence, and power over one’s place in the world.