These 14 Photos Challenge Mainstream Beauty Standards (NSFW)

Photo: Courtesy of Ashley Armitage.
With every photo she takes, photographer Ashley Armitage aims to fill a void. "I'm interested in representing the female form in all of its various and imperfect ways because the media does not," she explains via email. Her body of work prominently features pubic hair, stretch marks, body rolls, and other physical features that, as far as she's concerned, have yet to be normalized in mainstream depictions of women.

"In media we see thin, white, cisgendered, and hairless girls photoshopped to the exclusive beauty standard," a standard that "leaves out the majority of women and girls," Armitage says. "My photography started as a way to free girls from the standard by showing that there are many definitions of beauty." She shows women at their most comfortable, fully at home in their own bodies. Isn't that how beauty should feel?

Click through for a selection of Armitage's recent work — images that are simultaneously raw and sensual. They feel intimate and even voyeuristic, partly because, yes, her subjects appear nude or in their underwear, but also because we so rarely see women's bodies depicted so honestly.

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