The modern media landscape is crammed with images of Photoshopped bodies and faces that look more like oil paintings than depictions of real life. What most people hardly ever see is the variations and idiosyncrasies of the female form throughout motherhood, particularly during and after pregnancy. Unless they are studying the captivating imagery of Jade Beall.
Arizona photographer Jade Beall became fascinated with the maternal figure after the birth of her son in 2012. Although the birth was uncomplicated and joyous, she fell into a postpartum depression because she felt ugly, ashamed, and unattractive. After taking nude self-portraits of herself with her child and posting them on her website, she received hundreds of positive comments. Realizing that her work could be used as an agent of healing and reclamation of one’s physical self, she began the “A Beautiful Body” project. Through the series, she photographs her sitters for free, allowing them to heal from years of self-loathing, abuse, and disease.
Her first volume “A Beautiful Body” is primarily focused on mothers and their families. The book, which will be available in January, is the first of several which will deal with birth, aging, death, and beyond. Her edition is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, which has already exceeded its target goal. Offering her talents to act as medicine for both subjects and viewers, the black and white photographs are powerful reminders that beauty lies in the ability to give and sustain life, love, and the embodiment of compassion.