The American Beauty photo series by Carey Lynne Fruth was inspired by the
iconic rose petal fantasy imagery in the film American Beauty. In American
Beauty, a middle-aged man conjures a fantasy of a thin, blonde, teenaged girl.
In Carey Lynne’s series, she encouraged her volunteer models to step into the
flower scene as self-possessed, empowered subjects rather than as sexual
objects. They were asked not to perform as models, but to be authentic in
their sensuality, vulnerability, and complexity. The images are meant to
speak about real life sensuality and femininity, and to push the paradigm of
beauty standards in the U.S. by representing women of different shapes,
sizes, ethnicities, and ages. The Lilacs are meant to represent beauty, pride,
and confidence. This project is ongoing.
Photographer: Carey Lynne Fruth
– You called your project „American beauty“, but I think this project is important for women from all around the world. Do you agree?
Yes! I definitely agree. When I started the project I was only doing it for my own community and friends. I wanted to provide an empowering experience and images they could be proud of. I honestly did not think it would spread the way it did and become internationally published.
– Nowadays in media we see only perfect bodies. As a result women have problems with their body self confidence. What about women form uncivilized countries, maybe they don’t have such problems?
This is a very interesting question. I don’t have any first hand experience with un-westernized countries but I do know that body image varies culture by culture. And in our culture and most westernized cultures, I think the bombardment of images of one particular body does mess with your perception. The media sells you the lie that if you don’t look like those images that you are not going to be happy. And that isn’t true.
– Why do you choose to show a beauty of body through naked body image?
I think choosing to express confidence about your body and owning it, doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you need to get naked. If you want to be naked and that feels empowering do it! If you want to wear lingerie, do it! If you want to wear a dress, do it! Or pants, or even a hijab, do it! Its really up to the individual’s preference. For this project, I did choose implied nudity because I was referencing a specific image that I knew people (at least in the US) would immediately recognize and connect with. And for each of the models asked to pose like this, it felt right for them at this time in there lives.
– What is beautiful body for you?
I see every body as beautiful. We are all these amazing snowflakes and I love imaging what we would all be able to accomplish if we were able to push past the lies of the media and advertisements and embrace ourselves as we are.
– What is „Body“ for you as a photographer? As a woman?
I am a bit confused about this question but I will try my best. For me the body is a vessel. It is the holder of our souls. It is how we navigate the physical world. And is unfortunately how the physical world reads us. I think the body in many ways is the root of so much hate in our world; racism, sexism, ableism, etc. We ‘other’ each other by juding people by there outer shells. I think this is a projection. Our bodies are very complicated and radical self love for your body is hard to achieve, so people turn out side themselves and look for other people’s bodies to shame and control. This is especially true for woman. Our bodies are magical, we make life. We hold the key to our species survival, and I think that is threatening. People want to control women’s bodies, because then they feel they are in control of life. When in reality the only thing we are in control of is ourselves. I wish we would love take the time to get to know our own bodies, their capabilities, their challenging, and love them, appreciate them and care for them.