A number of retailers have recently launched body-positive lingerie campaigns, but this photo project takes things one step further. In "Underneath We Are Women," Amy Herrmann photographed ladies in their underwear. Then she asked them to really bare it all by sharing their most vulnerable stories.
Herrmann has collected stories and photos from 100 women and organized them into a book, which she's fundraising for on Kickstarter. “This project is about showcasing the diversity of women’s bodies and sharing the stories that shaped them rather than succumbing to the fictitious default stories that have long been associated with various body types,” Herrman wrote on the Kickstarter page.
The photos are powerful, but the stories are the part that really sticks with you. Check out a few of them below:
"After I had my surgery I was never really self conscious of the scar, it was just a reminder of what I had been through... I don't want it to fade... I always want this reminder of how amazing my body and mind really are." -- Underneath I AM ADAPTABLE -- What an incredible woman. We photographed this very special lady over the weekend in Melbourne. Proof that the shyest of introverts can throw themselves into the most confronting of experiences and come out the other end feeling totally empowered and accomplished. I love the way in which Sarah has completely embraced her newly formed exterior embellishment that runs almost the entire length of her abdomen. Her attitude toward what the body is capable of rather than the aesthetic byproduct of major surgery is perfect! On a personal level, this woman is a complete superhero in my eyes. Not only was she incredibly nervous, she also had her three young children with her on the day of the shoot, and STILL managed to keep her cool the entire time and long enough to end up with this final shot that perfectly encompasses her chosen word -- ADAPTABLE. What a perfect role-model she is for her children. They must be three of the most blessed children to have a mother like you Sarah. #rolemodel #mothers #bodiesareamazing #underneathiam #underneathwearewomen #adaptable #coolcalmandcollected #bodypositive #bodylove #whatcanyourbodyaccomplish
"After I had my surgery, I was never really self-conscious of the scar, it was just a reminder of what I had been through... I don't want it to fade... I always want this reminder of how amazing my body and mind really are." —Sarah Somervell
••UNAPOLOGETIC•• "I've had a storm in my mind over the last few days. Conflicting emotions; some good, some not. I thought hard about whether I wanted to actually post this full image from the @underneath_we_are_women campaign. I'm smiling in this photo - I think it's a wonderful portrayal of my personality and general attitude. I was smiling, but I was also terrified as this was being shot. As much confidence as I may exude and portray to the world in my everyday life, the reality is I've harboured quite strong feelings of resentment toward my own body for a lot of my life. Feelings, I think, which are a reflection of society's deeply internalised attitude towards the disabled body; that it is unattractive, undesirable, shameful, broken and that it should be changed, fixed or covered up. When I note that it's not in fact my stomach or my arms or my hips that I find it difficult to look at, or that I'm wearing almost nothing, some people may be surprised. It's my legs and feet. They're swollen as a result of lipoedema and look different because of my disability. I've been very good at hiding them from the world for years. Facing the pressures placed upon women to conform to idealised standards of beauty has been somewhat easier for me than it has been for me to live in this world as a woman with a physical disability. This is why I have decided to post this picture. It needs to be seen. I wish, as a little girl, I had seen something like this. A disabled role model telling me that I was allowed to love myself, that I didn't have to hide, be ashamed of or apologise for my body. That I existed. I had to figure this out (for the most part) on my own, and at times it was incredibly lonely, traumatising and isolating. This shoot was incredibly liberating and has taken me a step further toward my self acceptance and ability to live unapologetically in this body and in this life. 💕🌿✨🐬 Thankyou @underneath_we_are_women for pushing me to do this. You can learn more about and support her campaign here: kck.st/2b7VnTr #regram @rvbyallegra
"I wish, as a little girl, I had seen something like this. A disabled role model telling me that I was allowed to love myself, that I didn't have to hide, be ashamed of, or apologize for my body. That I existed. I had to figure this out (for the most part) on my own, and at times it was incredibly lonely, traumatizing, and isolating." —Ruby Allegra
Underneath I am..VIBRANT 🌹💜🌷💙🌈 My body - all six foot of it - hasn't changed all that much since I was 12 years old. I spent most of my younger years trying to shrink into invisibility. I didn't want to stand out, be stared at or get any extra attention. I've suffered an eating disorder, largely at the hands of the modelling industry. And underneath my confident, positive exterior I've had ongoing issues with at-times-crippling anxiety. I've heard everything from "you're too tall" to "you're too happy" to "you should try plus-size modelling" - you cannot judge a book by it's cover people, you will never know the story inside if you do. Every body is beautiful and every freckle, hair, blemish, scar and wrinkle is a trophy to be proud of! 💖 Our bodies do so many wonderful things for us - let's stop punishing them for it 💜💙💚💛 100 women. 100 stories. We need your help to make this dream a reality and to spread diversity and acceptance as far as it will reach! #regram via @carolynuphill Make your pledge via our #Kickstartercampaign (LINK IN BIO) #acceptance #loveyourself #loveothers #bodypositive #bodylove #dontjudgeme #modelsarerealwomentoo #bodypositivity
"I've suffered an eating disorder, largely at the hands of the modeling industry. And underneath my confident, positive exterior I've had ongoing issues with, at times, crippling anxiety. I've heard everything from 'you're too tall' to 'you're too happy' to 'you should try plus-size modeling.' You cannot judge a book by it's cover, people. You will never know the story inside if you do. Every body is beautiful and every freckle, hair, blemish, scar, and wrinkle is a trophy to be proud of! " —Carolyn Uphill