If you recall one thing about American Beauty, it's probably the image of Mena Suvari on a pile of blood-red rose petals. A San Francisco-based photographer, Carey Fruth, is reinventing this memorable scene with the goal of empowering women and challenging today’s standards of beauty.
In Fruth's latest project, she recreated the classic American Beauty shot with a powerful twist, which features models ranging from 21 to 67, and various body types and races. Fruth has been producing pin-up, retro boudoir, and old Hollywood imagery with a body positive theme since joining S.F. and New York’s Shameless Photography in 2011.
"I started this project because I wanted to recreate iconic Hollywood images with more diverse models," Fruth says. "I chose the American Beauty image for three main reasons: First, because I thought it would be a great way to really show how diverse bodies can be, second, because I knew it would be immediately recognizable to people, and lastly, because it was an image that clearly represented the male gaze. Plus, who doesn't want to lie in a bunch of flowers!"
Local S.F. figures were also a big part in this project, with volunteer models coming from Fruth’s work at Shameless Photography, along with body positive and burlesque groups.
"[Fruth] helped each person to think about her own sensuality, and allow the pose and expression to flow from that," says Shameless Photography founder Sophie Spinelle, who is also a model in the series. "These images are all about that honest and vulnerable moment that happens when a photographer genuinely cares about her subjects, and creates a space for them to be empowered and true to themselves in front of the camera."
Fruth’s spin on American Beauty will leave you in awe. Take a look at the moving photo series ahead.